I’ve never met a brownie I didn’t like. They’re like rainy days, new shoes and old-time television in that way: No matter how many times you have one, it’s still just as enjoyable. So when I saw this random recipe Friday, torn out of a magazine, tucked under some other papers on the table, I wasn’t a hard sell. I’d be making them that night.

Nigella Lawson said somewhere that food should be a celebration. (That’s when I knew I liked her, incidentally.) And that’s really what these brownies are. When I mixed the batter together, its rich, dark color riddled with chips of chocolate and thick in consistency, I kept asking myself, What should we celebrate?

brownies from above

And I suppose I never did find an answer, although, in another way, I found several. Saturday night, driving home from the basketball game, we ate these brownies and some banana bread in the car, celebrating the Spurs and a good night. Sunday, after seeing my friend for lunch after church, I ate a brownie with my fingers, grabbing bits and taking them with me to the computer. I ate another at my desk yesterday morning, I wish I could say with my lunch, but really it was more of a breakfast, on a day when the sun didn’t set until around 5 PM (!) and the golden sky signaled hope that winter and its dark days would end.

When we say food is celebrating—well, I guess I can’t speak for Nigella—but I think, we’re saying we choose to see things to celebrate with it, be they Friday nights at home or Saturdays spent cleaning or Sundays eating grilled-chicken pitas over interesting conversation. When we celebrate, we are stopping to think about the good things and remember why they’re good.


With these chunky, dense, intensely chocolate brownies, you’ll find it easy to see what I mean. They’re rich—I couldn’t eat more than one in a sitting, and that was all alone in the kitchen—and they’re all the things a good brownie should be. If they were shoes, they’d be a killer pair of black heels, always in style and just a little bit fancy.

In fact, eating them, you might find they’re a reason to celebrate in themselves.

*Oh, before I forget: The lovely people behind Tim-Tam cookies sent me a sleeve of the treats earlier this week. Have you heard of Tim-Tam cookies? They’re lovely: chocolate around chocolate, with a wafers inside, and chocolate cream. Apparently, they’re the #1 cookie in Australia (!) and have just recently made it to this side of the ocean. Try them.

Brownie Bites
Adapted from King Arthur Flour, as seen in The Baker’s Catalogue

What’s unique about these brownies is their shape. You cut them into circles, making them look a little fancier, and you can garnish with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and espresso powder, if desired. Since I didn’t have a 1.5-inch round cutter, I got creative and used the bottom of a glass for a template. Then I tried a few other round items until I found a shape I liked. Whatever you do, remember the brownies will be rich; you’ll want to aim small in the sizing.

1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan (or a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan). For guaranteed easy removal of the brownies, line the greased pan with parchment, and grease the parchment.

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan set over low heat.

Add the sugar, stirring to combine.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, stirring until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28 to 34 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and barely set in the center.

Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Use a 1.5-inch round cutter to cut as many circles as possible out of the brownies. Wrap well; enjoy the leftover scraps.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Lan

    yes, something this rich and decadent is a great comparision to a pair of black shoes. i love that analogy.
    the sun didn’t set til late yesterday too, the sky was still a lovely shade of greyish blue-pink at 530. it gave me hope that Winter is slowly making her exit.

  2. montague

    oh deliciousness! i sadly have met brownies over the years that I did not like… but i will try them always, until i get it right!

  3. Jacqui

    oh how i love brownies. and your pictures of brownies. especially the one of the already-eaten brownie.

    p.s. i just joined a flickr group called “remains of the meal” which is all photos of finished plates. yeah, i’m a dork.

  4. kickpleat

    oooh, i think there is plenty of reasons to celebrate lately! and brownies, yum. looks delicious.

  5. Nealy

    I am making these tonight!! Yum!! Sorry I’ve been away from commenting.

  6. The Duo Dishes

    The celebration of eating comes from watching people’s eye’s expand as they chew, chew, chew. Getting excited from smelling the aromas in the basement drifting down from the kitchen. Pouring a big glass of m-i-l-k to go with hot brownies! Especially those! They look like chocolate devils…

  7. Carrie

    I… love… your… photos!! I could practically imagine the taste of the chocolaty goodness thanks to your fantastic writing and great photography skills.

  8. finsmom

    These look heavenly!!!

  9. E.P.

    Like you, I’ve never met a brownie (or sweet, for that matter) that I didn’t like. Those look great!

  10. My First Kitchen

    Love love LOVE these photos. They do their job as I now require a stack of brownies.

  11. katie

    Those brownies look perfect! Those are my favorite kind of brownies, fudgy and dark. I love your writing, by the way, great blog!

  12. ingrid

    Just popped by from tastespotting…Great photos!

  13. Donna

    Saw these on tastespotting and had to tell you how awesome they look. Makes me want to bake up a batch right now.

  14. Gemma

    Great photos, they are making me want a brownie. Actually they are making me want one of your brownies. Speaking of Nigella, have you tried her brownie recipes? They are very good.

  15. Jennifer

    I love how you made your brownies round. What an elegant touch!

  16. Shannalee

    Lan: That we both had long-daylight days must mean something. Crossing my fingers.

    Montague: I really tried to think of one I hated, and, well, nothing. Even those sad little ones (maybe Little Debbie brand?) in the plastic wrap? I’ll eat them, it’s true. Love your persistence in looking for the best recipe. I should really recommend Nigella’s, which, although they have like SIX eggs in them, are pure heaven.

    Jacqui: Thanks for telling me about that Flickr group. Just joined and love it!

    Kickpleat: No snow for a whole week! LOST returning! A wonderful weekend! You’re right. The reasons just keep coming!

    No prob, Nealy. I assume classes are keeping you busy!! Can’t wait to hear more about things.

    DD: Now why’d you gotta go and make my mouth water like that?

    LOL, Carrie!

    finsmom: Aw, thanks!

    E.P.: We are now friends.

    Kendra @ MFK: Right? It’s hard to make a brownie look bad. I mean, come on!

    Thank you, Katie! I love YOUR blog!

    Isn’t Tastespotting awesome, Ingrid and Donna? Thanks for stopping by and for the comments.

    Gemma: Proving again that you have excellent taste, you mention Nigella’s brownies. They are my all-time favorite, and that’s saying something. I think they’d make a lovely birthday dessert, all decorated with candles. Maybe she does that in a book? It feels like I didn’t come up with the idea!

    Jennifer: I know, right? I never would’ve thought of it but for the original recipe’s picture. So cute!

  17. Pingback: Get Togetha :: LifeStyle and Fashion for the Home. & Brownies!

  18. TJ

    This recipe looks really terrific. I think I’ll try it some time.

  19. Alicia


    just made these and they smell delicious! I like that they aren’t too dense of a brownie that they don’t rise. I’ve been looking for a taller, thicker brownie and these are great. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Shannalee

    TJ – I hope you do!

    Alicia – I’m so glad you’ve gotten to try them and enjoy them! Thanks for coming back around here to tell me!

  21. mpb

    Great recipe! Thank you for posting it. I was a little skeptical at first because all the other cooking blog’s recipes had been disasters. These were a real treat, bett er than the box & just freakin’ amazing. Thank you!!

  22. Shannalee

    Thanks so much for letting me know, mpb! Glad you enjoyed it!

  23. Amanda

    I’m with you – never met a brownie I don’t like (umm…unless I burn them – ouch)! I love the presentation, never woulda thought. I’ve bookmarked these on my delicious so I can come back and make them when we can have a treat (I’m thinking we need one, like, tomorrow?)

  24. Sprouted Kitchen

    love when brownies are in circles! it’s like they are brownies AND cookies in one. we are officially new blog friends. i love your writing, love it. not to mention the obsession with food, that goes without saying…

  25. Zina

    These look awesome. I think it’s brownie time! BTW, great photography!

  26. Amanda

    Made these this afternoon as a treat, specifically requested by my 3 year old :-) He came to the computer to “shop” for what we wanted to make, and these were his choice, Shanna. They were delicious! Cut them into heart-shapes instead of circles.

    Thought you might like to know that I substituted Sucanat for all of the sugar as well as used 1/2 cup coconut oil as a replacement for 1/2 of the butter, and they turned out great. I love using Sucanat, and have found for almost all baked goods I can successfully substitute it for white/brown sugar – every once in a while a more delicate treat needs the white stuff, but brownies and cookies can almost always benefit from the Sucanat sub.

  27. Shannalee

    Amanda, AMEN to what you said about Sucanat, and it makes me so crazy happy to hear someone else using good ingredients like coconut oil in their baking. And you cut them into heart shapes? So. cute. Thanks for telling me how it went! I’m so glad you guys liked them!

  28. jane

    Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids :)
    I also like the below brownie recipe.
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Shannalee

      Thanks, Jane! Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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