Brownies: Study Distraction Extraordinaire!

So, I have some finals in the next few weeks. You know what that means? Baking and whining. Yep, those be my go-to vices for dealing with the stress of tests, work, and impending move. Yet, I know if there weren’t at least 3 important future events at all times in my life – well, nothing would get done!

I’ve been experimenting with brownie recipes lately – mostly inspired by this recipe for brownie frosting I found at work a few weeks ago. It was good, but after making it a few times, the frosting was too sweet. It’s brownies with fudge on top. One word: OVERLOAD!!! Seriously, I think I’ve lost a little weight in the past few months, and those suckers are not helping me maintain at all.

The second time I made the above frosting, I needed a different brownie recipe as I don’t have any boxes of brownie mix on hand and the previous brownie recipe was disappointing. I looked through my cookbooks and came across one called “Beat This!” by Ann Hodgman.

God bless that woman!

A few weeks ago, I made the brownie part of her “Layered Brownies” and put the frosting on…good, but still too sweet.

Then yesterday, I wanted to try “Layered Brownies” as they were intended. I’ll let the picture speak on this matter:


That would be a brownie on the bottom, followed by a vanilla butter filling, and topped with chocolate glaze.

Be jealous. Drool. I dare you.

I took these to a small dinner with friends last night. I received the best compliment ever: “Laura, Starbucks would charge $2 or more for these, and these brownies are better than they ever could make.”

And because I’m nice, here’s the recipe. Careful, the time commitment is big. But the results are delightful. If you desire to know my shortcuts so these didn’t take 5 hours, leave a comment and I’ll let you know ASAP.

Layered Brownies
from: Beat This! Cookbook by Ann Hodgman (c) 1993 by Ann Hodgman, Chapters Publishing Ltd.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Brownies: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 pan and line it with buttered parchment pater cut to fit the bottom of the pan.

Ina small pan, over very low heat, or in a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate. While the mixture cools, beat together the sugar, eggs and salt for 8 minutes. Fold in the chocolate mixture, then the flour and vanilla. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or just until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly.

Frosting: Melt the butter over low heat until it is a definite caramel in color. Remove it from the heat. Immediately bea in the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Frost the brownies with this mixture while it is still warm. Cool to room temperature.

Glaze: in a small pan over very low heat, or in a double boiler, melt together the unsweetened chocolate and the butter. Pour this glaze over the top of the white icing. (The best way to do this is to pour the chocolate on and tilt the pan back and forth until covered.) When the glaze has hardened-it will take an hour or two-cut the brownies into squares. (It is easier to do this neatly while the brownies are still at room temperature.) Then chill the brownies thoroughly. They’re much better eaten cold.

Makes one 9×13 pan.



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