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I’ve been making these brownies for a long time. I think they were the first thing I ever learned to bake. They are tasty and easy to make in a jiffy – like, say, if some doofus shows up on your doorstep and you have nothing to serve with tea. You can get these into the oven in about 10 minutes flat.
Several years ago, my cousin Michele was staying with me after her father passed away. Her father was, and remains, one of my most favourite people. Sadness cannot be alleviated in these circumstances, but soft, warm brownies can do a great job at comforting a weary traveller. ”I’m going to make you some brownies,” I told her. ”Great,” she said, “yummy!“
A few minutes later Michele wandered into the kitchen. She looked quite confused. She looked… disappointed. “What are you doing,” she asked. “I thought you were making brownies.” Now, I’m standing in the kitchen with flour and cocoa in hand and I’m thinking: I am making brownies, dough for brains. But out loud I replied, “um, Michele, I am. See?” And I held up the cocoa. Michele looked around the kitchen and then asked, “but… where’s the box?“
MICHELE THOUGHT BROWNIES WERE ONLY MADE FROM A BOX. That’s right. I’m yelling. Because I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t know you could make them from scratch. No mother freakin’ clue. So now, when I make brownies for 2.0, I almost always think of Michele and her genuine Brownie Shock.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is made in one pot and then poured into the baking pan. Very little mess. Minimal prep time and easy as pie. So easy that even a monkey could make ‘em. Provided that monkey had access to an oven. Heck, they’re so easy to make that even Michele could make ‘em. (I think.)
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Yields one 8×8 inch square pan.
- 1/2 cup margarine, plus 2 tablespoons margarine set aside
- 6 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional), walnuts, for example, or pecans
- confectioner’s sugar for garnish (or your favourite frosting)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan.
In a saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup margarine over medium low heat. Once melted, add the cocoa and additional margarine (2 tablespoons). Remove from heat. Add the sugar and mix to combine. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Finally, stir in flour and nuts (if using).
Spread evenly in your prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into the centre of the pan comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar (a mesh sifter does the trick) or frost if desired.