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There are certain things that I’ve been eating since childhood. They are recipes that were simple for my mom to whip up and made plenty for her family of 7. This is one of those family favorites. We call them buttermilk brownies and we are still in love after all these years! One thing my mom always told me was that when I needed something fast that fed a lot of people, this was the thing to make. There are no unusual ingredients, so I usually have everything in the house all the time. It only uses a pot and a whisk, so you don’t need big kitchen equipment. The biggest factor is that once you’ve done it a few times, it can be made start to finish in 30 min. That’s amazing!
I start by preheating the oven to 375 and getting out the 1/2 sheet pan, then separate the ingredients… butter, water and cocoa powder in the pan. This is my favorite kind of cocoa powder. I love that it’s fair trade, organic and affordable!
Eggs, buttermilk, vanilla in a measuring cup. I never keep buttermilk on hand. I will buy the store kind for Grandma’s pancakes because it makes a huge difference! But for regular baking, you just need acidity to react with the baking soda, so I add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice in the bottom of my measuring cup before I add the milk – probably about 1T. per cup of milk. Voila! Buttermilk.
Flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk up the ingredients in the bowl. I don’t sift things like flour. I just do that instead.
I have all the steps ready to go and that makes the process go quickly and efficiently.
Bring the ingredients in the pot to a boil. Then turn off the heat and add in the dry and wet ingredients, whisking them right in the pot.
Pour the batter into your greased 1/2 sheet pan and pop it in the oven for 20 min.
Then I sift the powdered sugar. This is an important step! If you don’t sift it, you’ll have really ugly lumps in the frosting and that looks terrible. I just put it in a screen strainer and then use my whisk to force it through. The kids love to do this part.
Start cleaning up your kitchen and putting things away while you wait for the brownies to be half done. When there’s 10 minutes to go, I turn my brownie pan around. This makes sure that they are the same thickness all the way across, even if your oven is a tiny but unleveled. Normally it doesn’t matter, but this recipe is so thin that it makes a difference. Then I make the frosting so that it’s ready to pour on the brownies as soon as they get out of the oven. Bring the ingredients in the pot to a boil, stirring constantly. Pull it off the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Make sure there’s no powdered sugar up the side of the pan. Otherwise you’ll have frosting with sprinkles of powdered sugar all over it.
When the brownies are done, frost them immediately. I pour it down the center and then use a spatula and gently pull it from the center out to the edges. Remember they’re fresh from the oven so be careful not to tear it!
And there you have it! I’ve even frozen pans of these and pulled them out for an Awana snack and it worked perfectly! I promise that once you make this a few times, it will be a fast family favorite for you too!!
In a large pot add:
1c. hot water
1/3c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add dry ingredients first, then wet:
1t. baking soda
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/2c. buttermilk (or milk plus a splash of vinegar or lemon juice)
1 1/2t. vanilla
Mix well and pour into greased 15×11″ pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. About 10 min. into cooking time, start making the frosting because you will frost them directly out of the oven. I rinse my pot out and then make the frosting in the same pot.
3T. cocoa powder
2 1/4c. sifted powdered sugar
Heat the butter, cocoa powder and buttermilk in the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk well. Frost brownies immediately after taking them out of the oven.