Because it’s usually better to eat brownie batter than it is to shank people.

Brownies.  That’s right.

Do you want to win friends and influence people?  Do you enjoy doing something that’s very easy but people assume is difficult so that they think you’re extra awesome for making the effort?  Do you enjoy making a dessert that involves a batter you can eat by the spoonful and risk salmonella and no one will be the wiser? (Unless you actually get salmonella.  They’ll notice that because of the pooping.  Still worth it, though.)

Brownies are the answer.  And the question.  Brownies are everything.

Here’s one of the best things about this brownie recipe:  a person can be not a big chocolate fan and still love these brownies because they’re not even slightly bitter, as some chocolate desserts tend to be.  I don’t really like chocolate.  Every time I admit this shameful secret, the other party gasps like I’ve just told her that I like to eat my own hair or wear assless chaps to Target.

The Most Interesting Man in the World

I like this recipe because the resulting brownies are sweet but not too sweet, they’re moist, and they have the most delightful crust on top that cracks just so when you cut into them:

Brownies

I took this picture in February 2010 because I was very proud of this batch of brownies. I apparently didn’t have a lot going on in February 2010.

So beautiful.

But, you say, there are no nuts or marshmallows or chocolate chips or yogurt-coated gummi bears in them!  That’s right; there aren’t.  I’m a brownie purist—no extra crap allowed.  I’m even more of a chocolate chip cookie purist. If you tell me that you’re baking me fresh chocolate chip cookies and then add something horrifying to the dough, like oatmeal or nuts or (by the hammer of Thor!) white chocolate chips, I might very well shank you.

So, the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease (or cooking spray, my personal choice because it’s easy and I’m lazy) a light-colored, 9” x 13” cake pan.

1.  Mix 2 sticks softened butter (I use real butter, as per usual) and 2 cups sugar.

2.  Add four large eggs and mix well.

3.  Add 1 cup flour and ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa and mix very slowly and carefully until dry ingredients have been incorporated into the wet ingredients. (If you don’t start out slowly, you’ll end up looking like a chocolate-coated human pop, and God forbid if there are any PMS-y cannibals just hanging around.)  Then, mix at medium speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined.  A few of my family members who make the same recipe mix the ingredients until they’re only just combined, but I prefer a slightly fluffier brownie, which can be accomplished with more mixing.

Hershey's Cocoa

4.  Scrape batter into the greased pan, smooth and even it out, and you’re ready to go!  And, by ready to go, I mean you’re ready to eat the copious amounts of batter you left for yourself on the sides and bottom of the bowl.  You’re also ready to put the pan in the oven, but that is less important.

5.  Bake the brownies at 350 degrees for anywhere from 22-30 minutes.  The original recipe, many moons ago, called for 20-22 minutes, but mine are NEVER done that quickly.  You’ll just have to experiment with your own pans and oven.  When you stick a fork in them and it comes out clean, they’re done.

This recipe is the very first thing I ever baked on my own.  It’s so easy that a nine-year-old child can make these brownies.  It would not be possible for these brownies to be easier.  Would. Not. Be. Possible.  Now that you know about this recipe, there is no acceptable excuse for you to ever use a brownie mix again.  Never again.  Do you want to be punked by a nine-year-old? Don’t do it.

These are the brownies I make when I have a gathering to attend, like holiday party that I know I’m not going to enjoy because I hate small talk and feeling awkward.  They are instant popularity.  If political candidates would bake these brownies for voters, they’d be the new American heroes.  Instead of elections, we’d hold brownie-offs.

Please note: I believe this recipe was NOT original to our family; it likely came from a cookbook many decades ago, like an old Betty Crocker cookbook, but I cannot find it anywhere.  Nowadays, even the simpler recipes call for extra ingredients, like vanilla (in brownies?) and salt and baking powder.  Because everyone keeps baking powder (not soda) in the house.  (I mean, I do, but I get really irritated and bitch and whine and gnash my teeth if I’m making the odd new cookie recipe that calls for baking powder and find that I don’t have any. I’m supposed to avoid gnashing my teeth; I have TMJ problems.)

So, don’t use any of those recipes.  Use THIS recipe.  It’s the simplest and tastes the best and produces the best raw batter, and, sometimes, we all want to eat several tablespoons of raw chocolate batter so that we feel less like shanking people.  It’s called “anger management.”  You’re welcome.

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