Butterscotch Brownies

These brownies are based on a recipe, handwritten in pencil on a very yellowed well-used piece of paper, that I found after my mother passed on. I was going through a manila envelope from her kitchen full of such prized manuscripts. Truly, these brownies are to be prized. They're just the right balance between cakey and fudgy. Do try them with walnuts, a quintessential combination.


½ cup Unsalted ButterIf using salted, decrease the amount of salt.
cups Dark Brown Sugar
2   Egg/sBest at room temperature
2 tsp Vanilla
cups Flour, All Purpose, Unbleached
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp SaltMissed, if left out
1 cup WalnutsOptional, but highly recommended, coarsely broken up


1 These do well in a nine-inch square pan. If you prefer thicker brownies, try an eight-inch square. Grease the pan (I use unsalted butter so that everything contributes to the good taste of the final product).
2 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3 In a smallish bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. I use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients. If using the walnuts, add them to the dry ingredients. This helps to have them well-distributed, rather than sink to the bottom.
4 Since I use stainless steel mixing bowls, I actually melt the butter in the large bowl. If you use mixing bowls that can't sit directly on a burner, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Blend in the brown sugar and take off the heat. Place mixture in a mixing bowl. Mix in by hand the eggs and vanilla. These need to be well-mixed so that all the ingredients form a homogenous, somewhat heavy batter. Mix in the dry ingredients just until they're incorporated into the batter.
5 Spread mixture in the prepared baking pan. I use a convection oven and find that 25 minutes is just about right. For a conventional oven, you'll need 4-5 minutes longer. Often, the most difficult decision for the baker is when to take the goodies out of the oven. A few times, I've underbaked these and have been disappointed to have the middle so fudgy that it is almost like sauce. When properly baked for a brownie consistency, the edges are a little browner than the middle, a little higher, and just a little krinkly looking. An important point is that each baker can decide for his or herself just how they like their brownies baked, whether a little fudgier, or a little cakier, a little less time in the oven, or a little more, respectively.
6 I think it works better to wait until they're cool to cut them. Also, I cut just as many are needed because the rest will keep fresher if left uncut.