From-scratch recipes to celebrate National Brownie Day

Ditch that boring box mix and make your own homemade brownies from scratch. Dec. 8 is National Brownie Day so it gives you every reason needed to indulge. Here are some recipe ideas to get you baking.

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies

Much like this recipe’s author, actress Katharine Hepburn, these brownies are classic and rich, and delicious. Plus they are easy and quick to make, so they may just become your own family favorite recipe.

½ cup cocoa

½ cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup white suga

r¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, nuts and salt. Add to the cocoa-butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey. Let cool, then cut into bars.

Knock You Naked brownies

These may include a box mix to get you started, but you’d never know it once you finish the complete, decadent product. This ooey gooey mix of chocolate, caramel and brownie will make you the hit of any party.

1 box (18.5 ounce) German chocolate cake mix

⅓ cup evaporated milk

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup evaporated milk (additional)

50-60 whole caramels, unwrapped

⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick. Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for eight to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over semi-baked brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the caramel layer. With remaining brownie dough, use your hands to press it into a large square about the size of the pan. With a spatula, help lift it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. Cut into squares.

M&M Blondie brownies

For those days you want a treat, but not dense heavy chocolate, these M&M blondie brownies will hit that sweet spot. And if you aren’t into M&Ms, you can substitute pretty much any candy like Reese’s Pieces, Kit-Kats, or Snickers. Trust me, your kids will be beaming if you make these for their arrival home after school.

½ cup butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups M&M candies (or any candies)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Sift together the salt, baking powder and flour. Slowly beat into the butter mixture. Stir in one cup of the M&M candies by hand. Spread the batter in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the extra 1/2 cup candies. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Do not overbake and they might seem underdone, but will set once out of the oven. Let cool completely 1-2 hours before cutting into squares.

Texas Sheet Cake brownies

This is the best combination of cake and brownie with a rich chocolate frosting. These Texas sheet cake brownie bars will please every taste bud in your mouth and you’ll have a hard time stopping with just one. Plus, it can serve double duty as birthday cake too!

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 cup butter

1 cup water

5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 

Icing:

6 tablespoons milk 

5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 cup butter

4 cups confectioners’ sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10×15 inch pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat in the sour cream and eggs. Set aside. Melt the butter on low in a saucepan, add the water and five tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the egg mixture, mixing until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

For the icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, five tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 cup butter. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over warm cake.

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