Every few weeks or so, I am the conductor of a symphony of dropped jaws when someone in my life finds out that I have a twin sister. I know it’s an interesting factoid, but I don’t try to preempt the good-natured indignation and broadcast my sororal status just because I feel like it’s a little silly and often irrelevant.
So let’s get it out now: I have a twin sister! And a few weeks ago, I made her brownies.
She’s been chasing science-y aspirations on the East Coast since the beginning of the summer, and this is the first time that we’ve actually had our respective permanent-ish homes in vastly different locations. And, as it turns out, it’s frustrating to see your sister posting pictures online of baked goods that you would have difficulty replicating in your matchbox of an apartment kitchen.
So, after months of torturing my other half, I finally got myself a Priority Mail box and a nice, sturdy brownie recipe to fill it with. This is the marriage of two old standbys, the blondie and the brownie, with a little thrown in between the layers. Simple, but easy – and with endless space for customization.
I made these again for Christmas, replacing the peanuts and chocolate chips that I sprinkled between the blondie and brownie in the first iteration with bits of white chocolate. You can spruce them up with a chocolate and white chocolate drizzle, as I did, or dust with powdered sugar – or just leave them gloriously rich, chewy, and – dare I say – naked.
So whip up a batch and ship to your cross-country loved ones, deliver them down the street for New Year’s, or eat the tops off of four of them at five in the morning like I did. Whatever. It’s the holidays.
Make the brownies (replicated from here):
8 oz. unsalted butter
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 tsps vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup flour
8 tbsps cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×3-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water; alternately, heat gently in the microwave for 30 seconds, then at 15-second intervals, stirring after each heating. Err on the side of caution – when the chocolate barely holds its shape, keep stirring, and it will probably melt on its own. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat the eggs in one at a time until blended. Add flour and cocoa and beat until the batter is just smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake on the center rack in oven for 20 minutes. While it’s baking, make the blondies (replicated from here):
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mix-ins (nuts, chocolate or white chocolate chips, chopped candy, etc.)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; beat until well combined.
Slowly add flour mixture; stir until just combined. Sprinkle mix-ins on slightly cooled brownie; drop blondie batter on top and gently spread. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and toothpick inserted into the center of the bar comes out relatively clean. Chill. Use overhanging aluminum foil to remove from pan before cutting.
For a chocolate or white chocolate drizzle, gently melt about 3/4 cup of chips and drizzle with a fork or a piping bag. Cool.
All images property of Allison Wachtel.