On December 8th each year, it is National Brownie Day in the USA, an unofficial but very sweet holiday nonetheless. After all, brownies are an ideal grab-and-go treat that you can eat with your hands; however, one of the best ways to enjoy this indulgent dessert is by adding a scoop of ice cream on top of a freshly baked one with additional chocolate syrup. But where did this delicious chocolatey confection come from anyway?
Aside from cookies, brownies are a very versatile and popular American dessert that can have various flavors too. Popular flavors include mint, caramel, s’mores, oreo with cream cheese, and classic fudgy chocolate. The first known brownie recipe comes from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, and it dated back to 1906.
Essentially, a brownie batter uses the same ingredients as a chocolate cake mix, except for baking powder. A brownie is technically a bar cookie and can be either cake-style or fudge-style, depending on the recipe. When it comes to cake-style brownies, expect an airier texture. These kinds of brownies will taste particularly good with frosting on top. If you prefer fudgy brownies, one big difference in those batters is that they are usually quite dense in comparison. These recipes call for less flour and have a richer flavor overall. The best brownies have a darker coloration and a high-quality cocoa powder to make the chocolate flavor more pronounced.
As with any recipe or dish, it is highly-recommended that you make brownies from scratch, too, but when you are in a pinch – well — whipping up a brownie mix is a convenient way to go if you are craving something chocolatey sweet. Boxed brownie mixes are easy to find at the store, but some brands taste better than others, of course.
If you want a fudgy batch of boxed brownies, try Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix. They have a rich chocolatey taste and have chocolate chips mixed in to make them even better once you bite into them. Duncan Hines sells a Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix that features a more cake-like consistency and has enough batter to fill a 9 X 13 pan, which is enough to feed a small crowd at a party. For a delicious organic brownie mix, go for Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. These are fudgy and rich and don’t have any artificial ingredients or preservatives. In essence, it’s as close as you can get to homemade without the hassle of measuring all the dry ingredients. These brownie mixes are worth the extra money if you want delicious, predictable results. Of course, you can always buy a generic brand instead, but don’t expect them to taste like a premium brownie. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, which is undoubtedly true in this case.
But before you go to the store for a mix, try out this recipe and enjoy some deliciously gooey caramel brownies. It calls for less than ten ingredients, so it is a cinch to make from home:
1 – 15.25 oz. box of German chocolate cake mix
½ cup of evaporated milk
½ cup of melted butter
16 oz. of soft caramel candies
⅓ cup of evaporated milk
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9 X 13 glass dish with parchment paper. Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and press ⅔ of the batter in the bottom of the pan. You can use an offset spatula for this part, but be sure to coat it with cooking spray so it won’t stick to your batter. Bake this first layer for 8 minutes, then take it out to let it cool off a bit.
While you’re waiting, make the caramel layer. You can either melt the caramels and evaporated milk in a saucepan on the stove or gradually melt them in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour the caramel layer on top of the baked brownie layer and drop the rest of the brownie batter on top. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips at the end if you desire. Bake the brownies for about 20 minutes and let them cool before slicing into them.
Using parchment paper makes it easy to take out the brownies and cut them on a cutting board. Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray instead, but the brownies may be more difficult to serve and may still stick to the sides of the pan if you aren’t careful.
So, have a happy National Brownie Day this December 8th, Lintonians! Thank you for taking the time to visit The Lintonian today. We hope you learned a little something about the chocolatey goodness we know as the brownie.
Featured photo by Pixabay from Pexels