Better-Than-Box-Mix Brownies

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.

Whenever I ask people what their favorite brownie is, there is always a resounding majority – most people only have eyes for box-mix brownies. And really, what’s not to love? The brownies always turn out gooey, chewy and with that amazing thin crackly crust on top. As a teenager, each Sunday night our church held youth group meetings and one of the mom volunteers always brought a pan of brownies. They were the BEST brownies. At one point a couple of us girls asked for the recipe and were sheepishly told that they were just from a box.

So many of those amazing brownie concoctions that you’ll see on Pinterest invariably start by calling for a box brownie mix, right? A number of years ago, I went on a mission to find a homemade brownie recipe that could mimic that elusive taste and texture of a box-mix brownie. Not surprisingly, it was Cook’s Illustrated that had formulated exactly what I was looking for – a homemade brownie recipe with all of the characteristics people love about a box-mix brownie.

Now, anytime I come across a recipe that calls for preparing a box of brownies, I turn to this recipe instead!

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.

According to the headnotes for this recipe, the key to the texture of the beloved box-mix brownie is the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. The box-mix brownies have a 28% to 72% ratio while a classic homemade brownie recipe has a 64% to 36% ratio. Big difference! The major factors in creating this chewy brownie recipe to mimic the box-mix include: using a mix of butter and vegetable oil, a mix of cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and extra egg yolks. I guarantee that if you are in the box-mix brownie camp, this recipe will wow you. Another huge bonus is that this is still a one-bowl recipe with only a whisk and spatula needed.

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.

Here are a couple of quick notes to make sure these brownies turn out absolutely superb:

  • For the chewiest texture, it’s important to cool brownies completely before cutting.
  • If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan to a wire rack (otherwise, the heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking).

Once you try this simple recipe, you’ll never go back to those box mixes!

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.

Four years ago: Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart

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Better-Than-Box Brownies

These homemade brownies have all of the great texture and flavor of box-mix brownies, without any of the processed ingredients.


Ingredients:

⅓ (28 grams) cup Dutch-processed cocoa

½ cup + 2 tablespoons (148 ml) boiling water

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2½ cups (496 grams) granulated sugar

1¾ cups (248 grams) all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips


Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.


2. Whisk cocoa powder and boiling water together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the melted butter and oil (the mixture may look curdled at this point, that's okay!). Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in the sugar until fully incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.


3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 1½ hours.


4. Using the foil overhang, lift the brownies from pan. Place the brownies on the wire rack and cool completely, about 1 additional hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(From Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue)


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This recipe was originally published on March 9, 2010.