The ultimate brownie

When I got back into blogging just a couple and a half weeks ago, I promised myself I would post something every week … but friends, the post that was supposed to go up on Tuesday is just so hard to write – yet impossible to ignore.

So you’ll get it next Tuesday. In the meantime, here is my recipe for brownies. I have had some need of comfort food lately, and I have to tell you, these are the best.

Note #1: For those poor souls who don’t have access to cranberries, these brownies are still outstanding without them. I just like the way the tart cranberry flavor cuts the sweetness of all the chocolate. Maybe you can think of an alternative … candied orange might work, provided it’s the good stuff, not the nasty plastic pebbles that renders American Christmas cakes good for nothing but holding doors open.

Note #2: I’m serious about the quality of the chocolate chips. If you’re not going to use good ones, don’t bother … just buy a box mix of brownie batter and call it good.

Note #3: The baking time is an approximation. They’re done when a knife comes out with no actual raw brownie mix on it. They’re overdone if the knife comes out dry – those chocolate chips are supposed to be soft!

Note #4: I usually double the quantity … but you do you.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Cape Town
My brownies never seem to last long enough for anyone to remember to photograph them. Instead, here is a view of Cape Town from the Kirstenbosch Garden, on the flanks of Table Mountain. (If you think it’s peculiar to illustrate a recipe post with a random picture of scenery, take it up with Ellen. Irrelevant photos are her idea – I deny all responsibility.)


½ cup + 2 Tablespoons soft butter (5 oz / 140 g)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
6 tablespoons cocoa (90 ml)
½ cup flour
Pinch salt
½ cup chocolate chips (use Ghirardelli or equivalent, not Hershey. I like semi-sweet.)
½ cup chopped nuts (I like either almonds or pecans.)
¼-½ cup dried cranberries (depending on personal preference.)

  1. Set oven to 320F (160C)
  2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Beat in eggs, then sift in cocoa, flour and salt.
  4. Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, and cranberries.
  5. Bake in greased 8″ (20 cm) square pan, about 25 minutes


Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

19 thoughts on “The ultimate brownie”

  1. Oh, that did make me laugh – the irrelevant pic. Ellen, yes, I’ve been wondering how she is. And on the weekly post: I’m struggling with that at the moment, too, but for reasons very different from you: I’ve got a few balls in the air, so a little less time on my hands.

    All the best with the writing…and take care

    PS I won’t be trying the brownie recipe: call me weird, but I don’t like them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Don’t you just hate the way, if you let a piece of Hershey sit on your tongue, it melts down to a blob of disgusting waxy stuff? UGH! That said, I’m having a fairly major crisis of conscience on the subject of eating chocolate at all. Was appalled to learn how much of the chocolate we eat is produced using slave labor… That’s not a trivial thing.


    1. Somehow, irrelevant photos and cranberries in brownies just seem to go together. I have long been a fan of the one, so I am feeling particularly inspired to try the other!

      Soon as it’s cool enough to even contemplate baking, that is. Until the average temperature in my kitchen has gone back down to below 85+ degrees (and that’s withOUT the oven), I’ll have to forgo the cranberry pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we all go through phases in our blogging – there’s time when the words flow freely, and times when life dams up the word-waters, and the blog goes dry.

    But your recipe – Cranberries & chocolate? – YUM. I’ll just have to come up with a keto-friendly version.

    Love the irrelevant photo – I think we should all do that. Ellen could become the next ‘net …thing…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm … I don’t think keto-friendly is possible with this one. I usually make it to give away to people who have pleased me greatly, and then I allow myself to eat some – more than I should, but less than the entire batch. Of course, the downfall after that is the leftover chocolate chips … You have to know someone who will take them off your hands! (Unless you have mad self-control. I don’t. Chocolate and I simply cannot cohabit.) Factually once your body is used to running on ketones it’s not too hard to kick back in if you fall out a little bit … My problem is, I’m really really struggling to get past that initial carb-craving phase that lasts weeks while your body adapts. Bleehhh!


      1. I think I had the best incentive in the world to stick to the keto thing – the sudden and almost complete lack of heartburn once I cut out the carbs.

        It’s easy to avoid stuff I once thought as standard comfort food when I KNOW it’s going to make me uncomfortable.

        If chocolate is a stumbling block for you – have you looked into Lily’s brand of sugar-free chocolates? I tried it with extreme hesitation at first, now it’s a staple. They’re sweetened with splenda, so the carb counts come waaaay down.

        I found mine in both the ‘specialty’ chocolate section and the organic baking supplies areas of my local grocery. I’ve heard they sell at Whole Foods, and, if nothing else, Amazon sells ’em by the case.


        1. Thank you! I’ll look into that! And yes, I feel SO MUCH BETTER on keto. It’s the getting there that’s hard. Tiredness, headaches, cravings … ugh! Getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water are key to success, so I’m working on improving those habits as well. Honestly, it’s maddening … I really thought that by the time I passed 50 I’d have my shit together… 😦


          1. Another thing that helped me get solid on Keto was, in the early days, a cup or 2 of bullion broth. Salt, fat, water, and heat. It felt like a warm sweater for my stomach. If you’re getting the headaches and cravings and lethargy – the salt will help balance your electrolytes.


          2. I take a salt tab every morning – Thermotabs – REALLY helpful, but must be taken with a full glass of water and don’t lie down too soon afterwards. But that bullion broth sounds like a good idea… I tried to make bone broth once and it was disgusting.


    1. Maybe I thought of it because I didn’t grow up with cranberries, and brownies were foreign food in South Africa back then. But when I came over here and experienced their delicious combination of sweet and tart … well, chocolate just seemed obvious! I hope you enjoy them… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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