For many of us, it’s not really Valentine’s Day unless there is chocolate involved.
What an excellent reason to mix up a pan of brownies. And these — these are the brownies you want to make.
If I had to say which of my recipes were most popular, these One-Pot Fudgy Brownies would be in the top five. I’ve received wonderful little tributes to the recipe from people who make these brownies regularly. Some make it for their friend’s or kids’ birthdays every year because the kids requested them instead of cake. So cool.
This whole recipe takes less than 15 minutes to get into the oven, which is a fact that you can keep to yourself. All anyone will know is that you made these fudgy brownies from scratch.
The recipe shaves off two common brownie-making steps. Often, a recipe will tell you to chop the chocolate before melting it, or to use a double boiler. Not here. Just melt the squares of unsweetened chocolate with the butter over low heat, and the chocolate will dissolve gently into the butter, without scorching.
And as the name suggests, the brownies are blended up in the very pot you use to melt the chocolate and butter in, so you don’t have to wash another bowl.
What makes a brownie fudgy vs. cakey is a higher level of fat. More butter and more chocolate. Cakey brownies often have just cocoa powder in them, and also almost always have some sort of leavening, usually baking powder or soda. Here, we are firmly headed in the direction of fudgy. Valentine’s Day is not a day to be ascetic.
Also, when you bake them, lean on the side of very slightly underbaked, which will give you that amazing moist and fudgy texture. And let them cool completely before cutting them.
You can make 12, 18, or 24 squares, depending on how large you want the brownies to be. And if you want to make them feel special for Valentine’s Day, just add whipped cream and some berries.
To make homemade whipped cream, simply beat 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with an electric beater until stiff peaks form. You can dollop some on each brownie, and then sprinkle some raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries or a mixture over them. If that doesn’t express true love, I don’t know what does.
One-pot fudgy brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing the baking pan (optional)
Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 13-by-9–inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the butter and chocolate in a medium-size saucepan over low heat and let melt together, stirring until smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, sugar and salt, then blend in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring to mix quickly so they don’t have a chance to cook at all before they are blended in. Blend in the flour.
Scrape the thick batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cool, cut them into 12, 18 or 24 squares.
Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman and can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.