BIG CHEAT BROWNIES

I take pride in making everything from scratch. Almost everything. My one exception, and I’ve always admitted it to anyone who compliments my magnificent brownies, is Duncan Hines. They make a darn good brownie mix that I’ve used since the 1970s. Just get the basic mix, nothing fancy, (I use the dark chocolate fudge) and follow the directions for fudgy brownies. YES – FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Don’t get creative. Don’t over-chef the box. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!

Use a small, square baking dish (8 x 8, or a small, round cake pan) and simply crack the egg, add the oil and water and mix for 50 strokes. That’s all you do.

Now comes the creative part — the addition that’ll make your brownies stand out. Dress them up in a chocolate ganache! (As my grandson, Jacob, says: “It’s not frosting, it’s GANACHE!”)

This is where your perfect brownies become exceptional. Everyone who loves to cook deserves a break, and Duncan Hines Brownie Mix gives it to you!

BROWNIES TOPPED WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Heavenly sweetness streaming down from above.
Heavenly sweetness streaming down from above.

Prepare 24 hours ahead to allow the ganache to set.

Mis en Place:

What You Need:

For the Brownies:

1 box Duncan Hines Brownie Mix

1 egg

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup oil

Utensils and Tools:

Butter for baking pan, or parchment

Large bowl

Measuring cup

Wooden spoon

Spatula

Baking dish (8×8 preferably, or round cake pan)

Cooling rack

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350F

METHOD:

Line the baking pan with parchment, or smear with butter or Sweetex.

Brownie Mix. Egg. Oil. Water.

Mix all together in a large bowl. Stir 50 times, making sure the mix on the bottom of the bowl gets blended in.

Spread the batter evenly in the baking pan and put into oven. Test for doneness after 25 minutes. You may need another 5 minutes, depending on your oven. When the sides pull away from the baking pan and the top springs back when you tap it, it’s done.

Remove from oven and let cool. After 5 minutes, flip the brownies out of the pan and let them come to room temperature on the cooling rack.

FOR THE GANACHE:

Mis en Place:

What You Need:

265 grams bittersweet chocolate pieces

250 milliliters heavy whipping cream

Utensils and Tools:

Kitchen scale

Measuring cup

Medium bowl

Small saucepan

Whisk

Baking tray

Pastry knife

METHOD:

Chocolate.

Measure the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream.

Heat the cream in the small saucepan using medium heat. Don’t let it come to a rolling boil, just the start of a boil. If it starts to climb up the sides of the pan, quickly remove it from the heat until it settles down again. Reduce the heat.

Chocolate. Heated Cream.

Whisk the heated cream to remove any surface scum. Put the chocolate pieces into the cream and whisk until they’re all melted. The ganache should be liquid and look like a silky glaze.

Let the ganache cool, whisking occasionally.

Objects of your Ganache Affection.

Leaving the cooled brownies on the cooling rack, place it in the baking tray. The tray becomes your run-off area for the oozing chocolate.

Ganache.

After 20 minutes of cooling, give the ganache a quick whisk and then pour it over your brownies. Using the pastry knife, spread it from the center to the edges and let it roll off the edges onto the tray below. Let the entire masterpiece cool for several hours (overnight, preferably) before cutting into the heavenly goodness.

Love at first bite!
Love at first bite!

Thank you, Duncan Hines.

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