I love brownies. More than any other dessert, I’m always happy to have a brownie; especially a well made brownie, which is honestly hard to get at most restaurants. I always think restaurant brownies end up tasting more like cake than a brownie. Sure, they taste good, but they don’t taste like a brownie.
A brownie should be rich, moist, and chocolatey. They should not be light with a loose crumb - that is cake. Brownies are so much more decadent than cake, and they should taste like it. I have a great basic brownie recipe that I’m going to share here, but I’m going to share a delicious variation of how to make them!
When I make these, and they’re sitting on the counter waiting to be sliced, my family begins circling like vultures.
The mixture should look like wet sand. Using the back of a large spoon or the bottom of a glass, pack the crust into the bottom of the pan, working your way around the edges and then into the middle. Bake until browned (it will be a noticeably darker shade) and fragrant. Make sure that you get the crust very titghtly packed down and that you bake it until fully cooked or it will completely crumble when you are ready to serve the brownies.
While the crust cools, mix together the dry ingredients for the brownies and set aside. Melt the butter for the brownies in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, then throughly whisk in the dry ingredients. Pour the brownie batter on top of the cooled graham cracker crust and bake for 30-35 minutes. Without the graham crust, you have my basic brownie recipe. You can make this by itself anytime, just be sure to grease and flour the pan before pouring the batter in.
While the brownies bake, take some time to get your chocolate bars ready. Unwrap four bars and break three of them in half. Next break the last one into quarters; you should have six halves and four quarters…you can eat one of the quarters if you want to, Squire NomNom always does this for us!
While the chocolate is soft and the brownies are still warm, top with marshmallows. I had a really hard time at this point trying not to scrape the melted chocolate off with the marshmallows and pig out.
Cover the top completely, and allow the brownies to cool to room temperature. I tried baking the brownies with the marshmallows on top the whole time, but found that it prevents the brownie batter from cooking properly. When they came out of the oven, they were nearly raw in the middle, even while the edges were burnt and the marshmallows had melted, plus the marshmallows hadn’t toasted at all. I decided to do what you would if you were camping: cook the marshmallows near very high, open heat so the insides melt while the outside browns:
About 5 minutes before I was ready to serve the brownies, I stuck the whole pan just a few inches under the broiler on high. I left the oven door open enough so that I could keep watch and took the brownies out as soon as the marshmallows were browned.
Ta-da!! This is the point when the vultures appear. The smell of those marshmallows under the broiler is irresistible! I waited to toast the marshmallows until the brownies were cooled for two reasons. First, brownies tend to fall apart if you don’t allow them to set up before trying to remove them from the pan. Second, the marshmallows are hard to cut through once they’re toasted. It’s very frustrating to cut into your brownies only to demolish them because the gooey, sticky marshmallow is pulling apart your still warm brownies. If you allow them to cool completely, then toast the top, you’ll get a warm, soft, freshly toasted topping, but your brownies will be better able to stand up to it when it’s time to cut them.
Makes one 8×8 pan
FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
9 graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
FOR THE BROWNIES:
1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING:
4 Hershey’s chocolate bars
5 ounces (1/2 bag) mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish with butter.
To make the crust: In a food processor, process the graham crackers until fine. Add the sugar and process until combined. Continue processing while adding melted butter in a steady stream, until mixture is combined and looks like wet sand.
Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan. Use the bottom of a glass or the back of a large spoon to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form the crust.
Bake until crust browns, 20-25 minutes.
To make the brownies: In a medium bowl combine the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and add sugar; whisk until well combined.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Thoroughly stir in the vanilla. Beat the flour mixture in completely. Spread the batter on top of the cooled graham cracker crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
While the brownies are still warm, lay chocolate bars on top and allow them to melt for 5 minutes then pour the marshmallows over the top, covering the brownies evenly. Allow to cool completely.
Once the brownies are cooled to room temperature, turn your broiler to high. About 5 minutes before serving, place the brownies directly under the broiler and allow the marshmallows to toast. This should take 3-5 minutes. Remove, cut, and serve.
Recipe by Darla