Recipe: 30 Minute Brownies from Scratch

I’ve never been big on brownies, much preferring a slice (or three) of chocolate cake instead. But sometimes being away from home makes you miss strange things, and for me, the other day, I wanted brownies.

So today, you get 30 Minute Brownies from Scratch for What’s Cooking Wednesday.

In the States, I never made brownies from scratch. Mixes were so easy to come by and also quick, easy, and delicious, so I never really saw the point for the one or two times a year I made brownies. But now, with no mixes in sight, I turned to a recipe my mom sent me (sent free to her from TimeLife) and gave it a whirl since I already had all the ingredients in the house — and you just might too!

I changed the name from “Grandma’s Best Brownies” to “30 Minute Brownies from Scratch” since my grandma didn’t make brownies. No false advertising here!

These brownies really do take 30 minutes *maximum* to make from start to finish, so that’s what I’m emphasizing; prepared mixes take just about the same amount of time and clean up will be about the same . . . so why not make them yourself from ingredients you know and love?

30 Minute Brownies from Scratch

Mmm chewy brownies on Flickr

  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into small squares
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8 inch square baking pan (or as close to that measurement as you can get — I never did get one of those).

2. In large saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring frequently.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, then vanilla, and then eggs and flour until well blended.

4. Spread mixture in greased pan and place in oven. Let bake for 18-21 minutes until the brownies start to pull from the sides of the pan.

5. Let cool a bit before cutting.

Got milk? (Sorry couldn't resist) on Flickr

Some recipe suggestions:

  • Stir in a 1/4 cup of your favorite nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans) for a special treat. I personally don’t like nuts in brownies, but I hold nothing against those who do.
  • Cut the brownies a bit larger and use as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup…or even some melted Nutella.
  • Whip up a quick chocolate frosting by beating together 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Then with a mixer on low, add in 2 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar and 1/2 cup of baking cocoa powder gradually, alternating with 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat well until the frosting is smooth and fluffy and then spread on brownies before cutting.

Buon appetito!

Do you have brownie recipes and/or tips to share?

27 Beans of Wisdom to “Recipe: 30 Minute Brownies from Scratch”
  1. awedree

    Sorry Michelle, I don’t. But your brownies look sooooooooooooo good. OMG now you’ve got me craving. I think I will go look for some chocolate in my kitchen!
    Buon mercoledi 🙂

    Hee hee…hope you found some!

  2. 03.04.2009

    I absolutely LOVE brownies…especially the fudgy kind. They look absolutely delish in the picture! And because I know I can make them in a half hour, that will make them taste even better! Thank you for inspiring me to do, literally, a little baking this weekend! But in the future, if you ever do need a mix, I’ll ship you one. You know how I feel about Italy. Even shipping something there will give me great pleasure 🙂

    Lisa Steinke’s last blog post..PRIVACY PLEASE by Liz

    These are *super* fudgy…you don’t need to eat more than one to get a fix! Although I may have anyway 😉

  3. I love brownies with a cream cheese swirl or blonde brownies. Not a big fun of nuts in my brownies either.

    I haven’t had brownies in over a year. I live alone maybe I can cut this recipe in half and make some without feeling obligated to eat an entire pan. ha

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday – Tracey’s Lemon Mushroom Chicken

    Or you can always take some to someone you’ve been wanting to break the ice with…just a thought 😉

  4. Gil

    Sounds delicious! I think I’m heading to the local bakery after my blood test today. I just hope that he has some brownies (with nuts) left or I might have to suffer with a cheese danish!

    Poverino! Hope there are brownies!

  5. 03.04.2009

    Hey, don’t you realize some of us have given up chocolate for Lent?! This is just cruel! 🙂

    Great recipe. I’d increase the chocolate to 6 oz, though. After Lent, of course.

    KC’s last blog post..Sessa Saturday: Madonna and Child

    Oops, sorry! I don’t do Lent so I forget that others do 😉 The chocolate worked out to about a bar, which is exactly what I had in the house, so it was perfect….I might consider adding some cocoa powder next time though 😉

  6. 03.04.2009

    Absolutely Fabulous looking brownies Michelle. Chocolate is sorta kinda outta my diet (lifestyle) now, but if I could eat it, this would be it! YUM!

    Deb R’s last blog post..Man does not live on bread alone…

    Ooh you’re so good, Deb. I’ve definitely had your share of these, I’m afraid 😉

  7. Carla

    Sounds so delicious! I think I’ll be trying this recipe out this week 🙂

    Hope you like it Carla! Great to “see” you 🙂

  8. 03.04.2009

    Now which of the six types of flour they have at my local should I be using – still can’t get use to ITalian flour types. I like the idea of specializatin but have the same problem with tomatoes – which ones for sauce, which for stuff tomatoe, which for salads etc etc.

    Willym’s last blog post..Graphic Proof

    I never remember the 00 versus 0 or whatever, so I always get the one that says “per dolci” on it…that makes it easy 😉 The other one I only use for coating and frying seafood and the like.

  9. 03.04.2009

    I assume the flour goes in after the eggs, right?

    And to answer Willym, I’ve found “American style” flour (Manitoba) at the Ipercoop.

    This recipe is very similiar to a recipe I found years ago on the back of a Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate box. That recipe was called “One Bowl Brownies”, and this one is the same. I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave, very slowly, stirring often.


    Yes Barb; I’ve edited, thanks! I don’t have a microwave, but if I did, I definitely would’ve melted in there…even quicker!

  10. 03.04.2009

    How yum they look Michelle. I always make my brownies from scratch; no other choice. Yes 10 minutes work, 18 minutes to bake…& they are ready to roll. Love your recipe! YUM!!

    deeba’s last blog post..STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA WITH A STRAWBERRY COULIS…the one that wouldn’t oblige!

    Exactly Deeba–10 minutes plus 18 or so…and YUM as the result!

  11. 03.04.2009

    Yum! You almost lost me for a second there with “I’ve never been big on brownies,” but then you mentioned you simply prefer cake. I suppose that’s acceptable. If you were anti-cake AND anti-brownie, though, THEN I would wonder about you! 🙂

    Stefanie’s last blog post..The Airing of Grievances

    I may have to revisit my brownie position after these…really quick to make and very satisfying with coffee in the morning…hmm….

  12. 03.04.2009

    The mother of a friend of mine in college used to make brownies into which she would swirl caramel . . . to die for. I’m completely ANTI-NUTS in brownies.

    But sadly we don’t have an oven in our apartment, so now brownies for me anyway! But yours look fabulous!

    Kim B.’s last blog post..A Week from Today

    I *love* caramel in brownies. Or anything really. Yum! No oven?! Yikes! P would be very disappointed without regular lasagna 😉

  13. 03.04.2009

    How do I get the butter into a tablespoon?

    Use sweet talk, i.e., “you’ll be a *brownie* soon! 😉

  14. 03.04.2009

    (For those not sure: last comment was dry English humour, not a ‘dumb’ question..) but anyway, tell me how ya do it, dai..

    OK fine, I’ll divulge my secrets. If you’re in the US (not sure about the UK), tablespoons are marked on the side of the sticks. FYI 8 tablespoons is half a cup in case it’s not marked.

    In Italy? Convert it to grams (113) and guesstimate on the hash marks on the stick 🙂

  15. 03.04.2009

    Mmm… the same thing has hit me a few times already. Strangely enough, always brownies! Thanks for the quick and easy recipe!

    Laura’s last blog post..Dancing in the Clouds

    Hope you like ’em Laura! These are pretty easy to make here too as the ingredients are rather “normal” 😉

  16. 03.04.2009

    I too do not like nuts in my brownies. This sounds like something I will need to try, thank you for posting it.

    Enjoy Aimee!

  17. 03.04.2009

    aaaaaaaaah i want to eat these! why are you/they so far away?!?
    i might go get gelato at central market. i always complain to myself in my head when i see gelato in america, because you can’t take a gem out of its territory, it’s just not the same. it’s like good olive oil. if you leave the “terroir” it tastes different. but i have to sheepishly admit, the roasted almond gelato at central market is purty darn good!

    jessica’s last blog post..America Blogger?

    I say you should take gelato wherever you can find it…even bad gelato is better than none, but it seems you’ve gotten lucky 🙂

  18. 03.05.2009

    For the peporicino can regualr chilli be used? i seem to recall in like water for chocolate then it made everyone really horny, or was it chocolate with juliete binoche?

    Free Brighton Fred’s last blog post..Patti Plinko and Her Boy

    Sure, ground hot pepper is basically what I’m referring to. Peperoncino *is* said to be natural Viagra 😉

  19. There is something impossibly appealing about brownies. I would love one right about now with a cold glass of vanilla soy milk.

    *So* good with milk, I agree…although I’m preferring goat’s milk lately 😉

  20. 03.05.2009

    Isn’t it funny how we crave the things from back home we probably didn’t even eat before? Your brownies look amazing! I just started making brownies a few months ago, using a Nigella recipe that calls for a whopping 6 eggs. Sooo decadent but worth it! And best of all, my mother-in-law is crazy for them!!

    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Do Over Day

    That’s great about your MIL! Score!

  21. 03.07.2009

    Oooh, I’d better not!

    Go ahead! Be dangerous….

  22. 03.07.2009

    Linking to this from my Bachelor Recipe linkroll, lol. Nice and easy! Thank you!

    John’s last blog post..No good deed goes unpunished

    What a great idea for a recipe list!

  23. 03.09.2009

    Oh my goodness — your brownies look so fudgy and delicious! I’m copying this for my brownie addict daughter! Thanks Michelle!

    Pat’s last blog post..Katz’s Delicatessen ~ Where Harry Met Sally

    Hope she enjoys them Pat!

  24. 03.10.2009

    Those brownies look so good! I wish you’d post European measurements along with the US measurements.

    I use my American measuring cups, etc., so I don’t usually figure out the European ones but for when I need to, I use this:

    Baking Conversion Chart at Expats in Italy

    It’s great!

    I can tell you, though, that I just used a regular sized bar of chocolate (100 grams is about 4 ounces) and 113 grams of butter is the 8 tablespoons. The flour and sugar are on that chart 🙂

  25. 11.09.2010

    We just had a cooking extravaganza with so many left over sweets that I was told to not bake anything for at least 2 weeks by my husband (small cake for baby, 9×13 layer cake for the adults who ate small pieces – its chocolate what gives!) plus lemon bars, cookies, stuff from the pastry shop…

    But when my 2 week restriction is up I know what I am making !

    Where did you find vanilla extract btw? Or do you use the powder kind?

    I brought some vanilla extract back here the last time I was in the States; I’ve used the baking powder/vaniglia combo here in other recipes though.

  26. 11.09.2010

    YUM! …..smiles.

  1. [...] 14. Chocolate cake flavorer: Used grounds and fresh grounds both give a little kick to chocolate baked g...



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake