A few weeks ago, the Bonus Baby and a friend came home from a play date (do you still call them “play dates” when the girls are 13?) with a pan of some nondescript brownies. I asked what I always do, when presented with brownies,
“From scratch? Or a mix?”
Because you never know at someone else’s house and I never like to waste calories on brownies from a mix.
I got the answer I was hoping for “Scratch.” So I took a little nibble from the corner. Extreme chewiness, not too sweet but great chocolate flavor. They tasted a little like the Kate Hepburn brownies I used to make.
“Mmm, good. What recipe did you use?”
“I don’t know. We just Googled a recipe for butterless brownies because there was no butter in the house. And we didn’t have any cocoa powder either , so we used hot chocolate mix.” Well, knock me over with a feather…
I love the make-do, resourcefulness and casual attitude of these girls. No obsessing over finding just the “right” recipe. They used the first one that popped up on Google. No stress because they didn’t have the “right” ingredients. Let’s see what we DO have! And no expectations that these will be the best brownies ever. They’re delicious and easy but are they the best brownies they’d ever eaten? No, and that’s perfectly OK. We could all learn a lesson or two from these smart girls. Reeeeelaaaaax in the kitchen. And all will be well.
The recipe calls for vegetable oil. I had canola and olive oil, so I decided to use a blend of the two. I’m guessing you could use all canola, all olive oil or what the recipe actually calls for, regular vegetable. I’m not sure how the brownies would taste using a flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, but it might be just fine. Please let me know the results if you try that. And unlike the girls, I do have cocoa powder in the baking drawer, so there was no need for Swiss Miss.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. espresso powder (optional)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9″ square pan with parchment or non-stick foil, allowing some to hang over the edge.
Mix oil and sugar in a large bowl. Incorporate vanilla and egg.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder (if using), baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing thoroughly but taking care not to over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting.
And oh, yeah, I added a 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, because everything is better with chocolate chips.