Saturday, June 11, 2011

Outside-the-Box Brownies

This is an unconventional recipe born out of desperation.  If you're anything like me, when it comes time to bake, your heart is really set on the finished product.  When I decide to bake brownies, I really, really want some brownies.  Usually, this isn't a problem, as an hour later some brownies have been baked.  But when it's a snowy February and I discover halfway through mixing ingredients that I don't have all the relevant parts...that's a problem.  Rather than brave the dark, snowy Ohio night, I made some (perhaps questionable) substitutions in my recipe, instead.  The results?  The best brownies I've ever baked.

It all started with a nice, normal brownie recipe: flour, sugar, cocoa, eggs, butter, oil, baking powder, vanilla, water, and salt.  Nothing scary there.  Until I realized I didn't have the full quantity of butter.  No worries, we can substitute a bit of margarine.  Then I found I didn't have enough cocoa powder.  Thankfully, I had some chocolate chips.  Thankfully, I had exactly enough eggs.  Until, that is, I dropped one right on the floor.

Now, you can substitute applesauce for eggs in baking.  Or bananas, sometimes.  I had neither.  So it was time to try something terrifying: Mayonnaise.

I know, weird.  But it turned out so good that I don't dare go back to my old recipe again.  You'll just have to trust me and give it a try yourself.  These are dense, chewy brownies with plenty of complex chocolate flavor. It may be a Frankenstein's monster of a recipe, but it's one that I trust.

Start by mixing up your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.  All go into a large bowl.

Baking recipes aren't exactly the most exciting to photograph.  I promise the finished product will look prettier.

In another mixing bowl, melt the butter and margarine and cream together with the sugar.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients: oil, water, (beaten) eggs, and vanilla.

Then it's time for the secret weapon.  I don't even like this stuff on sandwiches, but in it goes.

The mayo probably won't play nicely with the rest of the wet ingredients.  Don't fret, it mixes just fine once we combine with the dry stuff.

Moments ago, we had one bowl of boring powder and one bowl of ugly liquid.  Add the wet into the dry and mix well, and next thing you know we have rich, thick brownie batter.

Now for the chocolate chips.  Just a cup, don't try to go over-the-top on these.

Mix well once again, making sure to get any stubborn dry ingredients off of the side of the bowl.

Now pour into a well-greased 9"x13" pan.  It won't look like enough to fill a big pan like that, but they'll grow while they bake.  It's a tiny, chocolatey miracle.

If you're in need of some brownie points (see what I did there?), present a brownie-batter covered spoon to a loved one at this time.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  They'll usually be closer to the 30 minute mark, but play it safe.  Overcooked brownies are a travesty.

Poke a toothpick or a knife into the center to test doneness - when it comes out clean, you're set.

Despite the fact that your entire home now reeks of chocolatey goodness, you'll need to let these cool a solid 15-20 minutes if you want any hope of getting them out of the pan cleanly, let alone avoiding burning yourself. They'll be all the tastier for the wait, or so I like to pretend.

No need to tell any skeptics about the mayo before they try a bite.  Afterward, they won't care any more, except to ask for another brownie and maybe a glass of milk.


Recipe: Outside-the-Box Brownies

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes   |   Cook Time: 25-30 minutes  |   Difficulty: Easy   |   Servings: 12-16

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1.5 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cups Butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp Margarine
  • 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 whole Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup Water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In a second mixing bowl, melt butter and margarine.  Cream together with sugar.  Add oil, water, mayonnaise, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix well.

Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix.  Batter will be slightly lumpy.  Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Pour batter into a well-greased 9"x13" pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool 15-20 minutes before serving.


  1. looks delectable!

  2. Best. Brownies. Ever. Can you imagine these in a brownie sundae? Yummmm...