Make The Perfect Brownies

I guess I need to start with the title of this post, Perfect Homemade Brownies… yes, I know the word “perfect” is quite presumptuous.  Certainly tastes and opinions will vary quite a bit from person to person…. so it would be impossible for everyone to agree on what is “perfect”.  I guess that’s one of the luxuries of being the author of a blog… I can pick what is perfect to me!  =)

These brownies are rich, full of chocolate flavor, fudgy and moist (without being overly dense or oily).  I would describe them as “better than a boxed mix” brownies.  They have very similar qualities to a great boxed mix, but a deeper flavor.

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I’ve made (and eaten) quite a few brownies in my life.  They are one of my favorite desserts.  I’ve been searching for a perfect homemade brownie recipe for a while, and I believe I’ve found it!

 

Perfect Homemade Brownies

Rich, moist and fudgy, without being overly dense.

Yield: 24 (2 inch) brownies

ingredients:

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons) vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) Challenge butter
2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet)

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directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly grease a 9″x13″ pan. If desired, line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add 4 eggs, and beat with cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder and vanilla. Stir until fully combined and smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, melt butter in the microwave (or melt in a small sauce pan on the stove). When melted, add sugar, and stir to combine.

Add warm butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stiring until smooth. Make sure the butter mixture is warm, but not too hot, or it will scramble your eggs.

Add the flour and chocolate chips to batter and stir until fully incorporated.

Spread batter into prepared pan, and smooth as needed.

Bake brownies about 30 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the brownies and making a little divit so you can see the center a bit. You should find moist crumbs, but no wet batter.

Notes- For the best flavor, use the best quality cocoa powder you can. The original recipe calls for dutch cocoa, I used natural (not dutch) cocoa with great results, so I imagine you could use either.

The addition of the small amount of espresso powder will not impart any coffee flavor in the final brownies, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor.

If you’d like the choocolate chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, allow the batter to cool before adding chips.

Certainly, if you like nuts in your brownies, free free to add them at the same time as the chocolate chips.

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Enjoy these delicious brownies with a glass of milk, or scoop of vanilla ice cream.  They are sure to be a family favorite!

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How to Make Cupcakes

How to Make Cupcakes

Cupcakes are just right for almost any occasion. You can dress them up or down, fill them with something sweet or leave them plain, and top them with fluffy frosting, candies, and so much more, Follow these step-by-step tips for picture-perfect results every time.
Step 1: Choose a cupcake recipe

  • The easiest way to make a cupcake is to use a cake mix and follow the package directions for cupcakes. Cake mixes come in a variety of fun flavors, such as lemon, German chocolate, devil’s food, angel food, and carrot cake.
  • If you want to make your cupcakes from scratch, we have dozens of delicious cupcake recipes you’ll love. Most homemade recipes contain the following steps: creaming the butter, beating in granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla and then alternately beating in the liquid and the flour mixture (usually comprised of flour, baking powder, and salt).
  • Once you’ve chosen your cupcake recipe, preheat the oven. Ovens often take 10 to 15 minutes to reach the required temperature, and preheating will ensure even and accurate baking. Most cupcakes bake at 350°F.
Step 2: Pick a cupcake/muffin pan

  • For standard-size (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes, use muffin or cupcake pans with 2-1/2-inch-diameter cups.
  • For mini cupcakes, use pans with 1-3/4-inch-diameter cups.
  • Pans are also available with large 2-3/4-inch-diameter or jumbo 3-1/2-inch-diameter cups.
  • For a unique look, you can also use square muffin tins (found online or in specialty baking shops).
Step 3: Choose your cupcake liners

  • For the prettiest cupcakes, line the pans with decorative cupcake liners. Cupcakes bake taller in paper cupcake liners and are easier to remove from the pan. They are also easier to grasp for frosting ordecorating.
  • If you don’t have liners, you can grease and flour the individual cups in the pan. Or you can bake the cupcake batter in flat-bottom ice cream cones. To try a cupcake-ice cream cones duo, whip up our Neapolitan Cupcakes recipe.
  • Crafts stores also offer silicone baking cups for cupcakes (as well as the pretty liners). These cups don’t require greasing. Place the individual cups on abaking sheet, fill them with batter, and bake as directed in the recipe.
Step 4: Fill cupcake liners

  • Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full (about 3 tablespoons). Avoid adding too much batter or the cupcakes will overflow from the cups as they bake and cause a mess.
  • There are several ways to fill your paper cupcake liners with cupcake batter:
    • If the batter is somewhat thick, use two teaspoons to scoop it into the cups.
    • Use a medium (3-tablespoon) ice cream scoop to spoon batter into the cups.
    • Fill a heavy resealable plastic bag with batter and cut a small hole in one corner. Squeeze the bag gently into the cups to fill. Place your finger over the hole in the bag as you move to the next paper bake cup.
    • If your batter is thin, pour it into a large glass measuring cup. The spout on the measuring cup will make it easier to fill cupcake liners with batter.
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Step 5: Bake and cool cupcakes

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  • Bake cupcakes in a preheated oven according to your recipe or the cake-mix package directions. Most 2-1/2-inch cupcakes are baked at 350°F for 15 to 22 minutes.
  • Here are some general guidelines for adjusting baking times for larger or smaller cupcakes:
    • Mini cupcakes: A recipe that makes 24 standard (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes will make about 64 mini cupcakes. Generally, they’re baked in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Jumbo cupcakes: A recipe that makes 24 standard (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes will make 10 to 16 jumbo cupcakes. Typically, they’re baked in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Test the doneness of cupcakes by inserting a wooden toothpick into the centers. If the toothpick is clean when you remove it, the cupcakes are done. If wet batter or several moist crumbs cling to the toothpick after it is removed, the cupcakes need to bake longer.
  • Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them. When they are very hot they are quite fragile. Cooling cupcakes for the recommended amount of time allows them to be removed from the pan without breaking or tearing. Use a thin metal spatula to help you lift the cupcakes from the pan.
  • Cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack before topping them with icing or frosting. The wire rack allows for air circulation around the whole cupcake, which allows it to cool quicker.
Step 6: Fill cupcakes (if desired)

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  • To add cream, frosting, or other fillings to cupcakes, use a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Spoon the filling into the bag and insert the tip into the top of the cupcake. Squeeze the filling into the center of the cupcake. Don’t worry if you leave a hole in the top because the frosting will cover it. Practice this technique by whipping up a batch of ourRed Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Filling and Mascarpone Frosting recipe.
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Step 7: Frost and decorate cupcakes

  • Once cupcakes are completely cooled, you can frost and decorate them as simply or creatively as you like.
  • Before spreading or piping frosting, let the frosting stand at room temperature to soften if it has been refrigerated. Stir well before using. Chilled frosting is very firm and may tear your cupcakes as you try to frost them.
  • For simply frosted cupcakes, use a small flat metal spatula to spread frosting.

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The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

The best chocolate cake recipe. Ever? There are plenty of claims for the best chocolate cake recipe. I get that. But with one bite of this chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, every single person around the table commented that this was the best chocolate cake they’d ever tasted.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from addapinch.com

So as for my house, this chocolate cake recipe now holds that honor.

As the compliments continued, I didn’t begin to tell them how easy it was to make.

In all honesty, it is probably one of the easiest cakes I’ve made in a long time, really, but I just smiled and thanked them.

As we continued on gobbling up the cake, drinking our coffee or iced cold milk, the compliments just kept coming.

Then the requests for the recipe started.

That’s generally when you know that folks really like what you’ve made if they ask for the recipe and tell you for what event they plan to serve it.

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As a cook, that really is one of the highest compliments you can receive – well, at least in my book.

It was great to hear that they thought the cake was just as good after their last bite as they thought it was with their first.

Here’s another great thing about this recipe. The cake batter really can be made in a bowl without the use of a heavy duty mixer. Of course, that just makes things easier, but this is easily a recipe my Grandmother would have enjoyed making in her tiny kitchen with a whisk and a bowl. And I’m sure it would have turned out perfectly, too.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from addapinch.com

I’m not going to kid you, this makes a very rich, moist, and absolutely luxurious chocolate cake recipe. So if you are a faint of heart chocolate cake person, this is not the cake for you.

Based on the Old Fashioned Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe, I sort of went a bit heavy-handed with some changes testing cake after cake until I got it just the way I wanted it, but the end result was oh so worth it.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from addapinch.com

The few crumbs left on plates gave that away.

One of the ingredients that really made this chocolate cake recipe come to life, in my opinion, was the addition of espresso powder in both the chocolate cake and in the chocolate frosting.

If you’ve not tried a bit of espresso when baking with chocolate, you really should.

The espresso works to elevate the flavors in much the same way as vanilla extract and I now think of it as an essential part of my spice cabinet.

Espresso powder is easy to find at the grocery store or even online if your grocer doesn’t stock it normally.

Believe me when I say, it is very much worth the effort to have just for those times you are baking with chocolate!

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from addapinch.com

So my friends, if you have a chocolate lover in your midst, make them this cake. If they’ve had a bad day this is certainly something that will brighten it for them. If they’ve had a great day, then this chocolate cake is a great way to celebrate with them!

It just needs to happen.

Promise.

Let me just say again, This Chocolate Cake Recipe + this Chocolate Frosting Recipe = The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever!}

And here it is.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
45 mins
Chocolate Cake with decadent Chocolate Frosting that will quickly become your favorite!
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Frosting.
  8. For the Chocolate Frosting:
  9. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  10. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  11. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  12. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  13. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

UPDATE: Due to inconsistent results with the first version of the chocolate frosting I had posted, the chocolate frosting recipe has been updated to use softened butter.

Do let me know how you like it.