My favorite brownie used to be the one from a red cardboard box. It was more often than not just the cheapo store brand, and we always followed the directions for "fudgy" brownies.
I even managed to get my husband hooked on this type of brownie (which wasn't hard because a true brownie doesn't exist in Belgium and most of the chocolate cakes are on the dry side...). We once cleared a store shelf that was selling American-Style boxed brownie mix as a promotional item. We made short work of those suckers, eating them in no time.
After that, we started on our quest to find the best brownie recipe every, one that would replace our beloved boxed versions that just weren't available in Europe.
I think we even managed to find the perfect imitation recipe, but I somehow forgot to label it as such and it just got filed away in my recipe box, next to other great brownie recipes. We never were able to make them a second time...
Then, as if to make matters worse, I realized the extent of my food intolerances and allergies... I tried to convert each brownie recipe in my beloved box, but they never turned out fudgy or even remotely "box" like.
It was then that I decided I needed to take a different approach. Comparing all my "tried and true" recipes with the amazing-looking brownie recipe from Health Bent's cookbook, Primal Cravings, I threw a few ingredients into a bowl and hoped for the best.
What resulted was not box like. They weren't even fudgy with the chewy texture I was so longing for. But what they were more than made up for all that.
They are deeply chocolatey without being overwhelmingly rich. Milk is a welcome addition to a slice of these brownies, but you don't need one to wash away the sickly sweetness.
They are soft on the inside with the very outer layer becoming perfectly crispy. The texture is pretty consistent throughout the brownie, with the middle being only slightly more moist. The edges aren't dry at all.
They are cakey without being crumbly. This could easily be used as a birthday cake. The crispy outer layer would making frosting it super simple and the moist crumb would please anyone.
Also, these are nearly sugar free. They can even be 100% sugar free, depending on the chocolate you choose to use (I used 72% cacao). And, they're also grain and nut free.
So, are these the perfectly fudgy boxed brownies I was looking for? No. But I think my idea of perfect may have just changed - and these brownies are pretty dang close to being my new favorite.