Chocolate Brownies

(Adapted from Joy the Baker’s recipe)


  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil and grease the foil.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. Microwave butter and chopped chocolate at 30-second lengths until the chocolate is  slightly soft. Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
  4. Whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until pale and thick.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Whisk until completely incorporated.  Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
(Baker’s Note: I like to underbake my brownies and keep them dense and chewy rather than overbake, especially if I’m serving them a while after baking. If you prefer completely baked brownies, bake for 30-35 minutes)

These brownies are my go-to dessert recipe. Last-minute office bake-sale? Sure!  Present for the host of an intimate gathering? You got it! Proving to my relatives that I can still bake? Boom! House party for 40 people? No problem, done! Ok now I just sound like a 30 second TV-spot being played on repeat during a 2-minute ad break but you get the picture. I’ve baked these brownies in small batches plenty of times but the tough one was when one of the fellow building peeps (also a very good friend) decided that she was going to throw herself a farewell party. This party involved 40 people in a junior one-bedroom apartment. And for some unfathomable reason, I offered to cater. But more on that later. Long story short, they were extremely popular and flew off the shelves (trays?)!

Extremely charged by the success of this party, I went back home to India in December and decided that it was time to remind my relatives and friends of my baking prowess. Armed with my Ghirardelli chocolate chips that I’d carried all the way there and my mom’s old Wee-Baby-Belling oven, I started. The prep-work was perfect, even better than it is here because the kitchen is full-sized and there’s always help around for cleaning and finding ingredients. Then the batter went into the oven. And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. 35 minutes and it was still runny. 45 minutes and it was still jiggly. 55 minutes and it wasn’t even close to being done. So I got fed up and turned the grill knob to high. And left it like that for 10 minutes. Till I came back to a smoking oven. The final result: a cakey mess that was burnt on top and gooey and uncooked in the middle. Much as I don’t like to be the bad workman who blames his tools, this was a classic case of moving out of home, being spoilt by perfect OTG ovens and not being able to handle the 25-year-old Wee-Baby-Belling anymore. I raved and ranted at my mom about how my brownies are always perfect, then tried to scrape off the burnt portion, only to unearth the sticky mess underneath. Then I just got frustrated, scrambled the mess and left, refusing to take them to the aunt’s place that they were intended for.

What happened next was that my mom showed up at my aunt’s with these mysterious gooey cakes (shaped like flattened laddoos), which immediately got polished off! Over the next 24 hours, the gooey mess had people digging in with their hands, sculpting themselves a piece and licking their fingers afterwards. As my mom likes to tell the story, I was an out-of-control freak. (I do still hate it when baked goods get to the oven stage only to get ruined, even though I’ve had many such incidents) As I like to say: 2 key lessons learnt– Never bake in another person’s oven (a.k.a jiski lathi, uski bhains!) and Once you know the the end product tastes good, always pretend that it was intended so!

Oh, and always underbake!

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