Fudgy, rich and chewy with an incredibly moist interior and a shiny, crackly, flaky top—everything a classic brownie should be. Either way, old-fashioned or newfangled, you will surely enjoy this classic family recipe, Rich Fudge Brownies, that dates back to WWII.
Retro Recipe Revamped: Rich Fudge Brownies
Grandma Rose’s Brownies, Improved
So, did you watch the season finale of True Detective the other night on HBO? I don’t know about you, but I was totally hooked after watching the first ep last Friday night with The Big Lug. In fact, it turned into an all weekend event, as a marathon of sorts, at our house. I swear, I was transfixed and greatly appreciated the writing and acting—especially the acting of Matthew McConaughey. Well, the man now deserves to be addressed properly as Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, doesn’t he? I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever watched such a gripping series on television that delineated so effectively good (albeit imperfect) versus evil (to the core!) as this one. Whew! If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. No wonder this series has garnered an impressive 9.5 rating at IMDb by viewers.
That being said, I had originally planned to post this recipe, Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Rich Fudge Brownies, last Friday as a Feature Fridays post for an edition of Retro Recipe Revamped. But, I have to tell you, we’ve upped my aspirin intake to fight this terrible blood clot (after me stupidly defying doctor’s orders and aggravating it by working more than I should in the kitchen) and, I must admit, it has made me incredibly sleepy.
So, after shooting last Thursday, I just didn’t have it in me to wrap up the writing and photo editing for this post. Forgive me? Working past two o’clock or three o’clock in the morning, as I usually do, just wasn’t sounding like something I should do. The Big Lug keeps championing me to take a couple months off from blogging. But, I just can’t do it! Then, yesterday, when I started editing all of the photos, I realized I had snapped over 300 just for this post. I have to stop doing that! Seriously. The selection process takes so much longer to reach one shot from each group to narrow it down to about 30. For this post, it was necessary to show both the old-fashioned and newfangled versions of this recipe and thus all those snaps. 😉 Since I cannot sit for long periods of time while healing from this blood clot thing, it makes photo editing sessions nightmarishly long. So, please bear with me with my slow posting schedule until we beat this thing. 🙂
Let’s talk brownies—that is, classic American brownies.
As mentioned in the header of this post, our retro recipe dates back to the time of WWII in the 1940’s. The Big Lug’s Aunt Sophie gave us the recipe in 1996 as newlyweds. We’ve made the recipe several times and always enjoyed them.
Below is the original recipe as written by The Big Lug’s Aunt Sophie for Grandma Rose’s “Rich Fudge Brownies”. This recipe was so loved that it was included in several bridal cookbooks put together for the brides in our family. Note: “Busha” means “grandmother” in Polish.
RICH FUDGE BROWNIES
“This recipe has been my favorite since a child. Busha Rose made them over 50 years ago. These brownies are THE BEST!” -Aunt Sophie
1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2/3 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350ºF. Sift flour and salt. Combine sugar and oil. Add eggs; beat until light and smooth. Stir in vanilla, melted chocolate and nuts; gradually add dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Turn into greased pan (9 x 13-inches). Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares while warm. Makes 24 brownies.
Since Aunt Sophie proclaimed these to be “the best” brownies, why did we decide to revamp this retro recipe?
Well, quite frankly, tastes have changed since the WWII era. Wouldn’t you agree? When it comes to chocolate, we Americans want more chocolate flavor in our brownies these days. If you enjoy milk chocolate and other mildly flavored chocolate treats, as well as thin brownies, you will especially enjoy the retro recipe. On the other hand, if you are a total chocolate fiend, and prefer a thick brownie, like we do here at Wicked Good Kitchen, try our revamped recipe. We know what we are talking about when it comes to brownies! Just check out our recipes for Ultimate Moist & Fudgy Brownies (they are incredible brownies that just happen to be both gluten free and grain free as well as dairy free while still having a moist center and that classic shiny, crackly and flaky top) and Wicked Black Magic Brownies, our favorite Bourbon Brownies packed with chocolate flavor. With all of these options for brownies, there is surely something for everyone!
So, how did we go about revamping this recipe? First and foremost, we wanted to stick with the ratios so as not to disturb the delicate balance of this tried and true recipe to yield the hallmarks of a classic American brownie—that is, we kept our substitutions inline with the recipe as much as possible (right down to the weight of ingredients) for those important characteristics of phenomenally good brownies like a super-moist interior and a shiny, crackly, flaky top.
Right away, I knew that I wanted to substitute the vegetable oil to a healthier all-natural fat not overly refined to maintain those important nutrients. Immediately, organic extra-virgin coconut oil came to mind as I really enjoyed it in our recipe for Ultimate Moist & Fudgy Brownies. Next, since I really enjoy using part granulated sugar and part brown sugar for flavor, we did the same in this recipe just as with our recipe for Ultimate Moist & Fudgy Brownies and by using organic Muscovado (dark brown sugar) in our Wicked Black Magic Brownies. To make the brownies taste more fudgy and “chocolaty”, we decreased the flour and added just the right amount of unsweetened cocoa as well as doubled the vanilla extract. Finally, since we were aiming for a thicker brownie to “sink our teeth into”, I decided on going with a 9 x 9-inch baking pan versus the 9 x 13-inch called for in the original recipe but keeping the baking time the same. What resulted was exactly the classic, fudgy American brownies we were craving!
As always, we weighed all of the ingredients to provide the precise metrics for our international readers and for those who like to use kitchen scales to weigh their ingredients for accuracy. Furthermore, we updated the recipe method to include how to properly prepare the baking pan for easy removal and cutting of the baked and cooled brownies. To see images of this process, visit the post for our Wicked Black Magic Brownies and scroll down below the recipe.
Finally, we are happy to report that Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour performed flawlessly in our classic brownie application, right down to the perfectly super-moist interior and shiny, crackly, flaky top indicative of superior homemade brownies. And, the taste? We couldn’t tell which brownies were which during our taste tests. The gluten free brownies even looked identical to the conventional recipe. Both recipes had us over-the-moon!
Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour is available at William-Sonoma stores and their online catalog nationwide as well as select Whole Foods Market stores in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. To check where you can purchase Cup4Cup, please visit their site.
What makes our recipe for Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Rich Fudge Brownies wicked good? Fudgy, rich and chewy with an incredibly moist interior and a shiny, crackly, flaky top—everything a classic brownie should be. Either way, old-fashioned or newfangled, you will surely enjoy this classic family recipe, Rich Fudge Brownies, that dates back to WWII. Grandma knew her stuff when it came to brownies, cakes and old-fashioned goodness. What’s not to love? Wicked good, indeed.
P.S. Please Note: At this time, I am not a paid spokesperson for any company. I don’t even accept advertising on my blog. I just adore the companies mentioned in this post and their products!
Fudgy, rich and chewy with an incredibly moist interior and a shiny, crackly, flaky top—everything a classic brownie should be. Either way, old-fashioned or newfangled, you will surely enjoy this classic family recipe, Rich Fudge Brownies, that dates back to WWII. Grandma knew her stuff when it came to brownies and cakes. What’s not to love?
- 4 ounces (113 grams) unsweetened chocolate, such as Baker’s® or Dagoba®
- 1 cup (112 grams) sifted all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®
- 6 tablespoons (30 grams) sifted unsweetened cocoa, such as HERSHEY’S, I used Special Dark®
- ¾ teaspoon (6 grams) kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon sea salt or table salt)
- 1 cup (200 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
- 1 cup (200 grams) packed organic light brown cane sugar
- ½ cup (112 grams) organic extra-virgin coconut oil, such as Nutiva®, melted
- 4 large eggs (mine weighed 206 grams w/o shells), slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
- ¾ cup (90 grams) chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil by first turning pan upside down. (I like to use my Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Square Cake Pan.) Center a 13-inch piece of foil shiny-side down over the pan. Carefully press down on the sides, folding corners, to shape the foil snugly around pan without tearing. Remove the foil keeping its shape. Place shaped foil into pan and press into place along bottom and sides. With a piece of plastic wrap, grease the foil along bottom and sides of pan with coconut oil. This will create “handles” which will help removing bars from pan and to easily transfer to cutting board to cut into even bars.
In a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing shallow water (or in a double boiler), place broken or chopped unsweetened chocolate. Stir frequently over simmering water until nearly melted. Remove pan from heat; stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sifted flour, cocoa and salt. In another medium bowl (this is how grandma did it according to our aunt), combine sugars and melted coconut oil. Stir until well combined. Add slightly beaten eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in melted chocolate until thoroughly combined and smooth. If desired, fold in nuts. Gradually, add dry ingredients stirring until no flour streaks remain and just combined (do not overmix).
With a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (versus uncooked batter), about 30 to 35 minutes. (We never bake ours over 30 minutes. Do not bake over 35 minutes or the brownies will be too dry.) Transfer to wire rack and allow brownies to cool at least 1 hour before removing from pan. Cool completely before cutting.
Use the foil on sides of pan to lift brownies out. Peel away foil and completely discard. Cut brownies into squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Tips:For Gluten Free Option: Substitute 1 cup sifted (120 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma. Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.