Better Than a Box Mix Brownies

I haven't posted a new recipe in two weeks, I can hardly believe it. I've been so wrapped in my efforts to get rid of all the unnecessary junk in my house so we can begin a few rehab projects that I've barely stepped a foot in the kitchen. The good news is that I have my closet purged and organized, the kitchen gadgets have been somewhat tamed, and my guests have a usable bed again (I may or may not have a tendency to let my extra kitchenware pile up in the guest room.) As a treat for all my hard work I decided to get back in the kitchen and finish the brownie recipe I've been toying with off and on since August.

Everyone I asked during my experiments had a very set idea of what consists of a good brownie. They needed to be full of chocolate flavor, moist, and chewy rather than cake-like. I won't come out and say this is the best brownie recipe on the web, there are enough recipes out there already claiming the same thing, but they're definitely addictive. I feel like they should come with a warning. The kind of warning that says you'll want to eat the entire pan yourself and not share a single bite.

I may have done just that, more than once (but lets keep that between us and the rest of the internet.) I'm such a glutton sometimes, but we are talking about brownies, which happens to be my second favorite dessert (the first being chocolate suicide cake.)

Now there is one key thing you need to know about this recipe before you begin. You ABSOLUTELY MUST use a quality chocolate.  Pick your favorite, there really is no wrong answer, but use something other than a bag of store brand chocolate chips. Please. I'm begging you.

During my experiments I tried a number of brands ranging from Tollhouse Morsels to more expensive chocolates like Ghirardelli and Guittard. I definitely prefer to use Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips, but they can be hard to find. My taste testers picked Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chips as the second place winner and I've found them stocked at all of our local stores, unlike the Guittard chocolate. If you want to try something else, feel free to substitute with whatever chocolate you happen to have on hand. If you don't have any chocolate on hand, that should be remedied immediately. I'm pretty sure running out of chocolate is a sin, or at least it is in our house.

Better Than a Box Mix Brownies

Better Than a Box Mix Brownies
makes 9 servings


½ cup butter, unsalted
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (see notes)


    1 cup walnuts


    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
    • In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 8 ounces chocolate and butter, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. 
    • Once melted, remove saucepan from heat. Add granulated sugar and vanilla extract, whisking until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes before continuing.
    • One at a time add eggs and stir until they are completely incorporated. Slowly spoon in the flour, sea salt, and cocoa powder, stir until well combined before folding in the remaining chocolate chips and optional walnuts.
    • Pour the brownie batter into the parchment lined pan and bake in a preheated oven for 34 - 36 minutes. The brownies may look undercooked when they are removed for the oven. Briefly allow them to cool before cutting to ensure they hold their shape.


    The Guittard baking chips I used for this recipe come in a 11.5 ounce package, while Ghirardelli baking chips are only sold in 10 ounce packages. You'll want to use the full 8 ounces to melt down, and add the remaining 2 ounces later. The missing 1.5 ounces of chocolate will not greatly effect the taste or consistency of the brownie.

    For those of you who are allergic to soy or are avoiding GMOs you might like to know that Guittard has removed Soy Lecithin from their chocolate chips and now use Sunflower Lecithin as an emulsifier.

    Gourmet Gifts for the Food Lover Who Has Everything

    Finding the perfect gift can be difficult, especially if you're shopping for a food lover that already has every kitchen gadget imaginable. Does that sound like someone in your life? Don't worry you aren't alone, my husband says I fall in to this category too. My solution when I come across this problem is to give an edible gift I know the person wouldn't normally purchase themselves. Here is a list of some of my most wanted items and a few pantry staples to get you started on your holiday shopping.

    1. Guittard Semi Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips — this is my go-to chocolate for brownies, it's miles better than any other brand I've tried.

    2. Stonewall KitchenCheddar Ale Mustard — I discovered this mustard a few years back and it quickly became a pantry staple. Try it on sandwiches, brats, or with summer sausage and crackers.

    3. San Francisco Salt Company French Grey Salt — Believe it or not the best meal I ate in Paris was a pan-seered salmon dipped in grey sea salt. Simple and delicious!

    4. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries — I've always wanted to try these, so they went on my wish-list this year.

    5. Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder Gift Box — I couldn't live without this cocoa powder.

    6. Distillerie Du Perigord Cherries in Kirsch Brandy — These make a delicious treat. You can use the Kirsch in your pie crust for a little added flavor and top your ice cream with the cherries. Yum!

    Don't be afraid to ask us for help if you're having trouble finding the ultimate gift this year. We'll do our best to come up with the perfect suggestion or you can try one of our DIY Christmas gifts which are always sure to please!



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