I’ve never met a brownie I didn’t like. They’re like rainy days, new shoes and old-timey television in that way: No matter how many times you have one, it’s still just as enjoyable.
So when I saw this random recipe, torn out of a magazine, tucked under some other papers on the table, I wasn’t a hard sell. I’d be making them that night.
Nigella Lawson said somewhere that food should be a celebration. (That’s when I knew I liked her, incidentally.) And that’s really what these brownies are.
When I mixed the batter together, its rich, dark color riddled with chips of chocolate and thick in consistency, I kept asking myself, “What should we celebrate?”
I didn’t find an answer immediately.
The next day, driving home from a basketball game, we ate these brownies and some banana bread in the car, celebrating a good night.
The day after that, after seeing my friend for lunch after church, I ate a brownie with my fingers, grabbing bits and taking them with me to the computer.
I ate another at my desk the following morning, and I wish I could say this was with my lunch, but really it was more of a breakfast, on a day when the sun didn’t set until around 5 PM (finally!) and the golden sky signaled hope that winter and its dark days be coming to an end very soon.
When we say food is a celebration, I think we’re acknowledging the ways in which it reminds us to delight in the little things: those Friday nights spent together at home with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, or Saturdays spent cleaning out the garage with a tall glass of lemonade and working hard on the housework, or Sundays with a meal shared alongside interesting conversation.
When we celebrate, we are stopping to think about the good things, and taking the time to remember why they’re good.
With these rich, chunky, dense, intensely chocolatey brownies, you’ll find it easy to see what I mean.
I couldn’t eat more than one in a sitting, though I tried, and they’re all the things a good brownie should be. If they were shoes, they’d be a killer pair of black heels, always in style and just a little bit fancy.
In fact, while you’re baking and eating them, you might find they’re a reason to celebrate in and of themselves.
What’s unique about these brownies is their shape. Instead of the normal square brownie, these are baked in mini muffin pans. Bite-sized perfection.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather Ingredients and Preheat Oven
Bring eggs and butter to room temperature by placing them on the counter about an hour ahead of baking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease two mini muffin tins and set aside for later use.
Measure out sugar, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Sift the flour onto a piece of parchment paper before measuring.
Step 2 – Combine Butter and Sugar
In a medium-sized pot, or in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave, melt the butter. Be careful not to burn or scald it.
Remove the pot from the burner and turn the burner off. Add the sugar to the pot.
Whisk thoroughly, until the sugar and butter are combined completely.
Step 3 – Combine Dry Ingredients and Vanilla
Combine the cocoa, salt, and baking soda, and add the dry mixture to the pot. Whisk to combine completely.
Add the pure vanilla extract. If you prefer, you may use a whole vanilla bean, scraped into the bowl, or you may use vanilla bean paste. The vanilla bean paste is my personal favorite to use when baking.
Step 4 – Whisk in the Eggs
Now, whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure that each is incorporated fully before adding the next.
This is done to ensure that the eggs are fully combined and emulsified with the fats (the butter, in this case) in the batter.
Step 5 – Add Flour and Chocolate Chips
Now it’s time to add the flour. Be sure to mix well, combining the flour into the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon. Make sure no pockets of flour remain.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Step 6 – Bake
Using a cookie scoop, spoon out 1 full scoop into each mini muffin cavity. Repeat this action until all cavities are full. I filled 2 mini muffin trays completely.
Be sure to use the cookie scoop to ensure each well in the tin is filled with equal amounts of batter. This way, all the brownie bites will cook evenly.
Place both pans in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of one in each tray comes out clean.
Due to inconsistencies in your oven based on the positioning of your trays, both may not be done at the same time. It’s best to arrange them next to each other on the middle rack, if your oven is large enough, for the most consistent baking.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Then, invert the muffin tins to remove brownies and flip upright on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before storing or serve warm.
These brownie bites are best served warm from the oven, but they’re still delicious the next day. A quick pop in the microwave for a few seconds will make them perfectly warm again.
Want even more decadence? Add these to a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Perfectly sized for little hands and big ones alike, these brownie bites are delish. I love adding them to packed lunches for a little something sweet. And, how great is it that they are already portion controlled?
When left to my own devices, I, for one, may cut my bar-style desserts a little large. (Shh. Don’t tell.) Bite-sized morsels help keep this girl on track.
Go ahead and give them a try! What is your favorite way to enjoy a brownie? Tell us in the comments below!
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Photos by Leslie Morrison, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 23rd, 2009. Last updated: April 6, 2018 at 12:44 pm with additional writing by Leslie Morrison.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.