Ever Adaptable Brownies

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Well, I’m certainly discovering the challenge with a food blog. While it seems so simple just to write down about the foods I cook anyway, actually turning my experiments in the kitchen into repeatable written recipes is much more challenging. So while I refine several recent recipes, I’ll post a tried and true one.

This brownie recipe is based off one that my friend T and I found when we were much younger. It was some obscure cook book that I can’t even remember the name of. And yet I have used it for the last 20 years as my go-to brownie. It makes a great base for just about any adaptations. It does belong on the very fudgy end of the brownie spectrum, so those who like cakey brownies should look elsewhere!

These are the basic ingredients that you need for some excellent brownies. From here, you can customize the brownies to just about anything: use vanilla or zest for flavoring, add any sort of lightly toasted nuts or some dried fruit, and there’s the perennial addition of chocolate chips or toffee pieces.

While I prefer to make recipes very accessible by not using too many gadgets, a scale really is critical in this case (and several others). Chocolate comes in so many shapes that a volumetric measurement is not going to be accurate. The best way to get a consistent amount of chocolate in your recipe is to weigh it.

Definitely butter and flour your pan or you’ll end up with brownie crumbles instead.
Melt your butter and chocolate over low heat and stir constantly to ensure your chocolate doesn’t burn.

In this case I chose to add orange zest, slivered almonds and lighter cacao content chocolate chips.

Adaptable Brownies


  • 1/3 c butter use salted or if using unsalted, add 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 oz semi or bitter sweet chocolate >60% cacao content
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • or 1 tbsp orange zest


  • 2/3 c slivered toasted almonds
  • 2/3 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dried cherries
  • - Or any combination there of.


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour an 8"x8" pan.
  • Melt butter and chocolate in a thick bottomed pan over low heat. Stir constantly. When combined, remove from heat.
  • Beat eggs and sugar together until pale yellow and falls in ribbons from the whisk. This can be done with an electric mixer, but it really doesn't take much to do it by hand.
  • Add 1/4 of the warm chocolate mixture to the egg mix. This will help equalize the temperature of the mixtures so that the eggs don't get cooked by adding the chocolate all at once. Once blended in, scrape the rest of the chocolate into the egg mix and stir to combine.
  • Mix in the vanilla or orange zest.
  • Add the flour (and salt if using unsalted butter). Stir until blended. Mix in any desired additions.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out with a just a bit of residue. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes (if you really want a brownie it can be tough to wait). Cut into 9 or 16 squares.


Adapted from I can't remember where

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