KP Cooks

Simple Brownies and Other Chocolatey Things That Are Good to You but Not for You

Easy, quick and maybe even good for you, but not really


Brownies. It’s hard to remember a time when the thought of biting into one didn’t make my mouth water. Personally, I like mine dense and fudgy. Nuts are nice, but totally optional. My mom was not an enthusiastic cook and so I am pretty sure it was her sister, my Aunt Dorrie, who introduced me to the intense pleasure of my first bite.

When I started baking them myself, I followed a cookbook recipe that involved creaming butter and sugar, then adding melted chocolate, eggs and flour. The outcome was not always dependable. A friend in town to visit watched as I prepared a batch and she smiled kindly at me and told me there was an easier way. Simply melt the butter and chocolate, add eggs, sugar and flour all in one pot. Pour the batter into pan and bake. Less clean-up!

I never looked back. These are dense and dependable. They melt in your mouth. Over the years I have found that while I always have cocoa and butter on hand, I do not always have baking chocolate, and so I adjusted the original recipe to match what is in my pantry.  

Can mistakes be made? Yes they can! A few months ago I got distracted and forgot the flour, an oversight that was quickly evident when I realized that I could not cut my brownies but had to use a spoon. I salvaged the disaster, rolling them into balls and covering them with chopped nuts. But I definitely prefer the recipe done properly.

I’ve always considered chocolate to be one of the basic food groups, along with my other favorites, coffee and bread with a liberal dose of butter. Sadly, my food groups do not feature in the actual food groups that are the cornerstone of planning a healthy diet. A typical plate would be half filled with fruits and vegetables, perhaps a quarter whole grains, and another quarter protein (with legumes and seafood featured prominently) and a bit of dairy on the side.

Dark chocolate has been touted for its health benefits, in part due to antioxidants. Although some of those studies were paid for by the chocolate industry, there is evidence that about an ounce a day of dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa solids can improve blood flow, insulin sensitivity and mood. One of my family doctor colleagues dosed herself daily as part of her health maintenance routine. I tried to sit next to her at conferences.

Which is not to say that these brownies will make you healthier. But maybe, just maybe, they are better for you than blondies. And, if in doubt, there are other chocolate treats to try.


¾ cup butter
¾ cup cocoa powder
4 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Melt butter over low heat, stirring in cocoa. Remove from heat. 
Add eggs, mixing in one at a time, followed by vanilla and sugar.
Stir in flour until just incorporated. Add nuts if desired.
Bake in 9-by-13 inch buttered baking pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
If you want something that is as good as a brownie but slightly more elegant, these are worth the extra work.

1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup powdered sugar

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk brown sugar, eggs, vanilla in a separate bowl.
Melt chocolate and butter in a pan over low heat and whisk into the egg mixture until combined, then fold into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Place granulated and powdered sugars into separate shallow bowls.
Taking about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into balls. Drop and roll each ball in the granulated sugar, followed by the powdered sugar. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 for about 12 minutes, rotating after six minutes. Cool and serve.

Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll
This was a favorite from my husband’s childhood. His mother was a fabulous cook but never looked down on out-of-the-box recipes. The hardest part may be finding the wafers.

1 package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat whipping cream and vanilla into stiff peaks.
Spread approximately 1½ teaspoon of the whipped cream on each wafer, stacking them on edge on a platter.
Frost the stacked wafers with the remaining whipped cream and refrigerate four hours.
Cut on the diagonal to serve.