If It Isn’t Chocolate, Why Bother? #4

In the middle of a Costco shopping trip one afternoon, 8-year-old Linnea asked me thoughtfully, “Mommy, what is ‘scratch?’”

After I replied with a bewildered, “Huh?” she clarified, “You know, scratch. You always say that you make pies and things from scratch. What is it?”

No, scratch can’t be purchased in bulk at Costco. But it’s the essential, creative ingredient in baking that really appealed to my mom. And it appeals to me, too. 

I bake many treats from scratch, but I personally don’t bat an eye about serving up brownies from a mix. In fact, I often use and recommend Ghiradelli’s double chocolate brownie mix. But for my mom, brownies made from scratch was an indisputable law of baking. They were always one of her favorite desserts, and she’d usually serve up her brownies warm alongside a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. 

To her credit, Mama never, ever, ever used a brownie mix throughout my entire childhood. Instead she used two brownie recipes. One makes cake-like brownies, and the other makes gooey, fudge-like brownies — in one bowl. I always prefer less mess and gooey brownies, so I’m sharing the latter recipe. But first, here are four random things about brownies that my mama didn’t teach me.

4 random things about brownies that Mama didn’t teach me:

(1) Lining the pan with non-stick aluminum foil allows you to easily remove the brownies and helps them cool faster.


(2) It’s much easier to cut the brownies when they aren’t in the pan.

(3) Crumbs don’t stick to plastic, so using a plastic knife to cut brownies eliminates the crumbly, gooey build-up metal knives collect.

(4) Sprinkling powdered sugar on top of cooled brownies adds a lovely, lacy contrast and makes them completely irresistible to my husband. (He adores the white stuff so much I’m convinced he’d eat his own shoes if I sprinkled powdered sugar on them!)

That said, here’s how to make those gooey, yummy brownies in just one bowl!  

Mama’s Brownies

(aka Baker’s One-Bowl Brownies)

  • 4 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter (one and a half sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup nuts (optional, which means I don’t include them)

Microwave butter and chocolate until melted.

Stir in sugar.

Stir in eggs and vanilla.

Mix in flour and nuts.

Pour into a greased or foil-lined pan (see random things #1 and #2 above).

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes 16-24 brownies, depending on how generous or stingy you feel when you cut them.

Please excuse me, I need to wash the dishes.

Be sure to check out the other chocolate recipes in this series entitled “If It Isn’t Chocolate, Why Bother?”

3 thoughts on “If It Isn’t Chocolate, Why Bother? #4

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