April 2, 2014

Homemade Fudge Brownie Mix

No need to by a boxed mix at the store. Save time and money by making your own brownie mix right at home
April's here! And you know what that means: it's time for Camp NaNoWriMo! With all new adjustable word count goals. I'm taking it easy on myself this session with a 30k goal (trust me, 1000 words a day is a lot easier than 1556) and a couple of fanfic ideas that have been rattling around in my head for a while.

You know what else that means? The closing date for my new condo is at the end of this month. Add into all this the fact that a key bridge in my area has been closed for repairs, doubling my normal commute time. And another bridge flooded out this weekend, so now my commute time has tripled until that's cleared up. So my free time has been streeeeeeeetched a bit thin.
So you know what I decided I needed on hand? Some more homemade mixes. But not just any old mixes. When I don't feel good, or I've had a bad day, there is nothing I want more than a good, fudgy brownie. You know I'm not usually a fan of box mixes, but brownies are one of the things that I will actually go for a mix for because I hate chopping and melting unsweetened chocolate-- which is a step many of the best and fudgiest recipes calls for-- and Ghiradelli makes some awesome brownie mixes.

But I can't help but feel like a complete and total fake using a box mix, so I decided to make my own.
Something I've learned in the course of my homemade mix obsession is that you can substitute 1 square (1 oz.) of unsweetened baking chocolate with 3 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Who knew, right? Once you've got that information, all the rest is easy.

All that remained was to find a good, properly fudgy, brownie recipe to mixify. Well, where else would I go but to Old Reliable?
This fudge brownie recipe is intense. Rich, chocolatey, so fudgy it's like candy, and even with the chopping and the melting of the chocolate, it's one of the simplest brownie recipes that I've ever made. But that didn't mean I couldn't simplify it further. Now I can have the batter mixed and in the oven in minutes the next time I want them. It might be the perfect first dessert to bake in my brand new oven.

Homemade Fudge Brownie Mix
Yield: Approx. 3¾ cups dry mix

2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
Optional: up to 2 cups mix-ins (the original recipe recommends chopped nuts, I went with a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate chips)

Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Make sure it's evenly mixed. Add to a jar or airtight container. If adding mix-ins, layer them on top, using plastic wrap to keep them separate. Store in a cool dry place up to 1 year.

To bake, add 1 cup melted butter (or vegetable oil), 4 eggs, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract to the dry mix. Mix well. Stir in mix-ins, if using. Add the batter to a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.

Based on the Fudgy Brownie recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook