Back to basics: Semi-sweet chocolate chip brownies

After a mediocre (if that) attempt at tackling baguettes from scratch (not to be attempted by the faint of heart) and a frustrating day of work, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Julie and Julia where Julie remarks, “You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.” What better way to make yourself feel better than with chocolate brownies? By adding chocolate chips!

If you don’t have a double boiler, find a sauce pot, fill with water and place a heat-proof bowl on top. Fill the bowl with semi-sweet chocolate chips and what else? Butter. Continuously stir until the chocolate and butter start to melt into each other. If your bowl doesn’t fit snugly (as mine didn’t), use a pot holder to keep your bowl in place. I did this, but managed to put the pot holder on fire. If this happens to you, stay calm and throw the pot holder in the sink!

Fire aside, the recipe is pretty simple (thanks to Southern Food on ):


8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch baking pan.
Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth, stirring frequently.

In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the sugar with eggs and salt until thick. Stir in vanilla and flour.

Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread in prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

3 thoughts on “Back to basics: Semi-sweet chocolate chip brownies

  1. A couple of brownie tips:

    1) Double boilers are a pain in the ass. Bursts of water can occasionally get into the chocolate, causing it to seize. What you can do instead is to chop the chocolate, put it into a glass dish, then microwave it in short bursts: 20 seconds, then stir, then 10 seconds, then stir, then 10 seconds, then stir… repeat this until it’s properly melted– usually takes about a minute and a half. Works like a charm.

    2) Line your baking pan with foil. Put one sheet vertically, then another sheet horizontally, letting the foil hang over the lip of the pan. Grease the foil. Then, when the brownies are done baking, let them cool for ten minutes in the dish, then lift the foil out. The advantages of this method are twofold: First, the foil will easily peel away from the brownies, allowing you to slice them without worrying about anything sticking to the baking dish; and second, it’s much easier to clean the baking dish when no brownie bits are sticking to it.

    Also, whenever I’m making semisweet brownies, I like to add in some raisins. You cook the raisins a bit in a pan with about a tablespoon of water, then you add a bit of rum, and light the rum on fire. After all the alcohol burns away, drain the raisins, and they’re ready to go.

    Nice article! Thanks very much!

  2. I’ve always been afraid of trying to melt chocolate without a double boiler. You get +5 for bravery.

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