Treasure hunts: Why don't we do these anymore? With the exception of a team-bonding scavenger hunt throughout New York City to kick off a truly wonderful (jk, jk) summer internship in investment banking, I don't get invited on a lot of treasure hunts. Granted, I am neither 5 years old or a pirate, but still. I feel that we're missing out.
When we were growing up, my little sister and I would stage elaborate treasure hunts for each other around the farm. We'd leave a trail of notes: Clues leading to places like the chicken coop, the hay barn, and the smokehouse. If this sounds like a scene from a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, well, such are the thrills of living in the middle of nowhere and inventing your own fun.
The prize was always the same: a small plastic bag of raisins, walnut halves, and semisweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. In a household with everything made from scratch, the most decadent foods were sourced from our mom's baking stash.
I have since graduated to harder stuff -- real, entire chocolate bars! cereal that is not Shredded Wheat! -- but I still have an intense, hard-wired love for semisweet and dark chocolate.
And it is inside a box of Baker's unsweetened chocolate that you'll find this brownie recipe. Their one-bowl brownies are classic and enduring for good reason. The recipe is absolutely no fuss and foolproof. Also, you only have to clean one bowl: WIN WIN WIN.
I've gone ahead and gilded the lily with chocolate frosting, because on the particular day that I baked them, I felt like throwing caution to the wind. Screw moderation! Chocolate to the face! You know how that feels?
Brownies with Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting
Makes one 9- by 13-inch pan
For the brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
For the frosting
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with foil and grease with butter or baking spray.
In a large glass bowl, microwave the chocolate and the butter on high, checking and stirring after each 30-second interval, until the butter melts (about 2 minutes). Stir until the chocolate is fully melted.
Add the sugar and mix well. Add in the eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Add the flour and mix until well-incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. The top should be crackly and a tester inserted into the middle should come out clean. Do not overbake! Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.
To make the frosting, add the butter, buttermilk, and cocoa powder to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking until smooth, and then remove from the heat. Transfer to a stand mixer (or large bowl) and add in the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Beat the mixture until fluffy and thick. **You might need less or more sugar, depending. Start with 2 cups, and add more if the frosting looks too thin. Also, if it isn't getting fluffy, try refrigerating the frosting for 20 minutes, and then beating it again.**
Spread the frosting over the brownies. Let the frosting set (it is helpful to chill them for a little while in the refrigerator), and then slice and serve.