Taylor Tries to Cook: Brownies

This week, I attempted making brownies from scratch. Now, I am an old pro when it comes to making brownies from the boxed mix. I will even admit to pretending that I made brownies from scratch at social events when they were really from a box to make myself seem more competent than I really am. I figured it was probably about time to stop lying and actually attempt to put some effort into things, and really do it from scratch.

Since childhood, I have a long history of attempting to bake things with my mother, where I somehow end up doing everything wrong. She would then swoop in, chuckling the whole time, and save the day. Sugar cookies? Couldn’t get them to stop sticking to the cookie cutters/cutting board/my hands. Chocolate pie? I burn the chocolate pudding every time. Bread? Came out hard as a rock. I do not have an aptitude for baking.

This was supposed to be the frosting.. Someone tell me where I went wrong.
This was supposed to be the frosting.. Someone tell me where I went wrong.

My only real baking success has been with pumpkin pies the past two Thanksgivings. In 2014, I was participating in the Disney College Program, so I was not with my family for Thanksgiving for the first time. I did have two Friendsgivings though, so I tried to figure out what I could contribute to the festivities. The pies turned out great, though granted my mom did send me the spices in the correct amounts so I couldn’t mess things up. I was also in charge of pies last year as my mom was out of town, and despite a slight panic moment where I called her freaking out, they also turned out fine.

These brownies were a half success. The brownies themselves were easy enough to mix up, but apparently the pan I used was warped or my oven rack is crooked because they were tilted and did not bake evenly. I also tried to make the frosting listed in the recipe, which turned out to be more of a too-sweet dough-like creation rather than a nice smooth frosting. Who knows where I went wrong there, but I doubt I will be trying that again without some guidance from someone that actually knows what they’re doing.

I really should have seen how warped the pan was.
I really should have seen how warped the pan was.

At the end of this experience I wanted to be able to say that I would never go back to boxed brownies, but that is just not the truth. There is a good reason pre-mixed brownies exist, and they are definitely for people like me.

Recipe (from Angie at AllRecipes.com):



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For frosting (if you can make it work, tell me your secrets please):


  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm.
Finished product, sans icing. Not the best brownies I've ever had, but not the worst.
Finished product, sans icing. Not the best brownies I’ve ever had, but not the worst.



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