The Way to a Man's Heart? Chocolate.

I don't know what it is--maybe the simplicity and pure satisfaction of the flavor--but every boy (25 years old and I just can't bring myself to say 'man' yet!) I've ever known has been deeply in love with chocolate. Ask a guy what flavor of dessert he wants, no matter the form, and the answer is "chocolate." You'd expect it to get boring after a while, but there are so many different possible flavor combinations, even savory, that chocolate is timeless.

I think that, maybe, inside every man is hidden a little boy with a big sweet tooth. Perhaps it's because I associate chocolate with sweets and sweets with childhood, but so many of my favorite chocolate desserts remind me of being a little kid with a bottomless pit of a belly and a constant nagging hunger for something sweet.   One of my favorites was brownies; somehow, they were always exciting! I can't think of a denser, chewier, more satisfying chocolatey dessert than a brownie. And there are kinds for everyone's taste; you can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, bittersweet; lace it with chunks of chocolate or keep it light; make them dense and fudgy or light and cakey. With brownies, really anything goes. And, no matter where you get them, they're always different. 

I saw these little glasses at Anthropology this summer and just had to have them. The style reminds me of mason jars and who could resist a glass that has "milk" etched all around it in different languages? Not me!

I've definitely had a lot of different types throughout my life, but the combination I keep coming back to is consistently dark, chewy, and has little fudgy pockets of soft chocolate morsels. I'm not a milk chocolate fan; it is far, far too sweet for me to handle. I'm not even really a semi-sweet chocolate fan, though it's billions of times better than milk. For me, the only options are dark and bittersweet, so that's all I buy. And I have to say, I've found that a nice dark chocolate brownie is definitely the way to a man's heart...at least my man's heart! Of course, he'll take chocolate in any form; though he did devour these pretty quickly. I even had to yell at him today because there was only one brownie left and I hadn't photographed a single one for this entry yet, but he took it to work to eat! Didn't even ask...such is his mad hunger for chocolate ;) No worries, though, he didn't eat it! So, I got my photograph and slipped the last brownie back into his lunch bag for tomorrow. 

Now, I know that a lot of people will just default to using a box brownie mix if they want to make them at home, but from-scratch brownies are quite literally one of the easiest desserts you could make. With a mix, you put the boxed dry ingredients into a bowl, add the wet, and mix it all up until incorporated. With from-scratch (at least my recipe), you generally do the same, but in a pot on the stove. I find the main difference in taste and texture probably comes from the use of actual chocolate rather than cocoa. As far as I can tell, chocolate flavored box mixes use cocoa, which imparts a chocolate flavor, but no fudgy texture. For me, I want to feel the chocolate as much as I taste it, so using actual chocolate, rather than cocoa, is a must.

I know that doing something on the stove top sounds like it must be more complicated, but it's really not. The only reason you do your mixing on the stove is so you can melt the chocolate and butter together at the beginning; of course, you could melt the chocolate and butter separately, but that would be more work! Basically, you just melt the two together in a pot, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (it helps them to fully incorporate more easily because half the mixing is already done) and then mix it all together! After that, you just have to pour the batter into a pan and let the oven do its job. 

My mom is the queen of box mixes; she loves to taunt me for being a from-scratch purist when it comes to cakey desserts because box mixes are so much easier and, in her opinion, taste just as good. I needed help preparing for a party one night, though, and she offered to help, so I gave her the task of making the brownies...from scratch. Of course, this was not something she was looking forward to! But my mother, who is free and open with her opinions, admitted that my way was just as easy. If she can admit it, so can you! I promise, it's worth it.


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (This is important. Do not use oleo/margarine because the chocolate will seize once it melts into it)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz chopped chocolate/morsels (your choice, but I use bittersweet. No matter what, use the best quality!)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate or morsels

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour an 11x7" baking dish; if you don't have one this dimension, don't worry, it's really just a guideline. I often use a 9x13" dish, which simply makes the brownies thinner.

Heat the butter and 4 oz chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. It's important to keep a low heat not only so that the ingredients don't burn (chocolate and butter are both very sensitive to this), but to keep them from getting too warm because you don't want the eggs to cook or set up at all from the heat once you add them; it'll completely alter the texture of your brownies (I know because it just happened to me), as will the chocolate chips added at the end, if they melt. That's also why you should use morsels or finely chopped chocolate; it melts much quicker than big pieces!

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar, then add it to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, mixing until smooth. The batter can be a little thick for a whisk, so I recommend a wooden spoon. You may want to break up the eggs before adding them, so they're easier to combine, or break them up just after adding them, but before mixing them in. Either way, make sure the eggs are fully incorporated.

At the very end, stir in the chocolate morsels and pour the mixture into the dish. Bake 35-40 minutes until the center is set. You can test brownies like a cake, inserting a toothpick to check for uncooked batter, but remember that there are whole morsels in there, so the melted chocolate may deceive you.

If you want to eat warm brownies right out of the oven (with a scoop of ice cream, perhaps?), just wait several minutes before cutting them up. Otherwise, let cool completely.

Alternatives I enjoy are baking the brownies in a square cupcake tin or mini cupcake tin, in free-standing cupcake liners (such as pictured above), and even in a round pan, served just like cake! With, perhaps, a little powdered sugar, caramel, or chocolate sauce on top :)

As always, have fun with it!


  1. where do I get square cupcake papers??

    1. I'm so sorry that I forgot to reply to this. Life has been hectic as of late, but see the below comment, if you're still interested!

  2. I would also like to know where you purchase the square cupcake liners?

    1. I got them at a local bake supply shop called Sarah's Cake Supply, so you could look for a shop in your area or even try Googling "square cupcake liners" and I bet there would be some online shops that carry them!

      The local bake shops are great, though, because they have so many cute things, such as tons of various liners, that you wouldn't necessarily find elsewhere.

      Good luck!


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