Recipes and stories for everyday life

Welcome to Hope, Love, and Food!

Hope, Love, and Food is a blog about food, home cooking, and more with recipes, photography, and stories for everyday life. My name is Michelle, and I started this blog because I love food. I enjoy cooking and baking for my family and friends, and I wanted to create something that reflects the role food plays in all our lives. I plan to write about my unapologetic love of chocolate, potatoes, and apples; culinary adventures; and the humbling cooking experiences of the past, present, and future. 

I live in the Northeast with my husband, our two children, and our dogs. This is definitely even more chaotic and incredible than it sounds! We have fun, and they all love food just as much as I do. We’re always on the lookout for the next delicious meal, treat, or snack. Join me and follow along as we live, laugh, and eat together—one meal at a time.


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Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Rich, fudge-like chocolate brownies are an indulgent treat for yourself and the people you love! This is my best chocolate brownie recipe. I like brownies that are fudge-like, moist, and soft. This recipe includes intense chocolate baked to perfection with the shiny crackled top that is characteristic of brownies — a must!

You’ll love this recipe because it combines all of the best things about brownies. My chocolate brownie recipe is easy to make and made from real chocolate, and there is no need to under bake the brownies for the fudge-like texture. You can have soft fudge-like brownies baked to perfection!

Heart-shaped brownie on marble.
Brownies on marble.

Chocolate

I use chocolate in this recipe. I have versions of my recipe where I add Dutch processed cocoa; however, I think brownies made from chocolate are divine. There is something wonderful about melting the chocolate for this recipe. The smell of chocolate fills the air and it’s incredible. Additionally, I use a full 8 ounces (a half a pound!) of chocolate for this recipe because chocolate is edible love and happiness. In all seriousness, I think brownies are best if you use a chocolate you enjoy and lots of it!

I use a mix of unsweetened chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, with a heavier emphasis on the semi-sweet. Chocolate baking bars are important. I think the chocolate melts nicer, and it makes a better brownie. I use the following baking bars:

  • Semi-sweet chocolate, 50%+ Cacao (6 ounces)
  • Unsweetened chocolate, 100% Cacao (2 ounces)

I like the rich chocolate flavor of this combination; however, you could use semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, or whatever you prefer for the 8 ounces. That said, I do recommend using bars of chocolate instead of chocolate chips. While you can use chocolate chips, I have always felt that I achieved better results with bars of chocolate.

Sugar

Many recipes call for white sugar or a mix of white and light or dark brown sugar. I use all light brown sugar because I like the flavor a bit more, and the molasses in the brown sugar allows for more moisture in the brownie. Using brown sugar and white sugar interchangeably may create slightly different results in recipes, so it is important to think about your desired result when selecting this ingredient.

Vanilla

I use vanilla extract in all of my baking. The vanilla extract enhances the other flavors in a recipe, and I have found the results are worth it for this ingredient. I’ve read that making your own vanilla extract might be more economical, and it is something I may explore in a future post on Hope, Love, and Food if I am going to continue to use vanilla extract for baking and recipe testing.

Baking Pans

I use a square, metal baking pan that is 9 x 9 x 2 inches. I have tried to use glass pans to bake brownies in the past with mixed results. Using the metal pan gives me the consistent results I’m looking for, and I bake perfect chocolate brownies every time I use it. When comparing glass or metal pans, I have found the glass pan does not bake the brownies thoroughly, leaving the coveted center brownies (I love them!) under baked or the outside edges too dry.

The square pan lined with parchment allows me to easily lift the brownies out of the pan and get the nice sharp edges I’m looking for when I cut the brownies into individual servings. I think the 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan creates a brownie that is just the right size; however, pans of other sizes can be used. If you decide to use a different size, please adjust the bake time accordingly.

It’s important to let the brownies cool completely in the pan for 2 hours, which allows them to set. It’s hard to wait, but I promise it’s worth it!

Heart-shaped brownie.
Brownies in red heart-shaped bakeware.
Our wedding anniversary is on Valentine’s Day, so I made an extra pan of brownies to celebrate!
Brownies stacked on marble.

Chocolate Brownies

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total time: 55 to 60 minutes
Makes 16 servings

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Electric mixer
  • Metal baking pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooling rack

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking pan with parchment. Alternatively, you can grease the pan with shortening.
  2. Using a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, and stir constantly until everything has just melted and combined. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, vanilla, and eggs on a high speed for 5 minutes. On a low speed, add in the chocolate-butter mixture, and occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour and salt, on a low speed, until all of the ingredients have just blended together. Scrape the bowl and mix until everything has just combined and then stop the mixer.
  4. Spread the chocolate brownie batter into the pan. Bake 35 to 37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with just a few crumbs on it and no batter. Cool the entire pan of brownies on a wire rack for 2 hours.
  5. Once completely cooled, lift the brownies out of the pan (if using parchment) and cut into 16 squares using a large sharp knife. Enjoy!

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