Ad Hoc Brownies

Do I even really need to write up a post about these?  Just look at them.

Over the holidays, I went through some major chocolate cravings.  Like, deeply serious ones.  I remembered that I had saved this recipe for the one guiltless baking extravaganza that would come at the proper time.  Well, it seems that lately, I have had a lot of those “I need some freaking chocolate NOW” moments. And, so, I pulled out the big guns with this recipe.

Now, I will draw your attention to one simple fact about this recipe: yes, 3 sticks of butter.  There, I got it out there.  So, before I get some comments about how horrible I am for posting these during New Year’s resolutions, let me explain that these brownies are the best brownies that I have ever had in my life (so, for me, SO worth the extra exercise).  They are plain jane-no nuts, no frosting, no special add-ins.  Because?  Because they don’t need any brownie “flair”.  They are, simply, understated and incredible at the same time.  LOVE. THEM.  Deeply rich and velvety with a light dusting of powdered sugar, tiny bits of bittersweet chocolate mixed in the batter, and a cold glass of milk on the side.  Are you in?  Because if you can agree that everything is allowable in moderation, then I promise you that you will satisfy any chocolate craving with these amazing kings of the brownie world. (especially if served warm over some vanilla ice cream……)

Ad Hoc Brownies

Servings: 12 brownies


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 pound (3 sticks, yes, I know…..) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces

3 large eggs

1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

6 ounces 61-64% chocolate (I used Ghiradelli brand bittersweet chocolate chips), chopped into chip-sized pieces (about 1 and 1/2 cups)

Powdered sugar for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter and flour a 9-inch square metal or glass baking pan.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.

4. Melt half of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

5. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl, and pour the melted butter over the top of it.  (This will bring the butter to room temperature.)

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale.

7. Mix in the vanilla.

8. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter.

9.  Add the chocolate and mix to combine.

10.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

11.  Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.

12. Run a knife around the edges and invert the brownie onto a cutting board.  Cut into 12 rectangles.

13.  Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving.

Source: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

And, I would like to sincerely thank Amalia, from ButterSweetMelody, for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award!  I am so thankful to have been included in her list of favorite blogs.

Part of this award allows me to recognize MY 15 favorite foodie blogs and spread the blogging love more!  I have met so many incredible people through this ever-growing part of the internet, and I would just like to send some love to the people who I know are regular readers of The Curvy Carrot and/or who have blogs that I completely admire (and haven’t already been given this award-a lot of you out there have!). In no particular order, I give the Stylish Blogger Award to the following blogs:

Annie (of course) at Annie’s Eats

Jenny at Strung By Color (check out her crafts and Foodie Fridays!)

Natalie at TheSweetsLife

Kim at Liv Life

Josie at Pink Parsley

Ali at gimmesomeoven

Leslie at LeslieSarna

Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food

Georgia at The Comfort of Cooking

Courtney at Cook Like A Champion

Jacob at Jacob’s Kitchen

Lauren at Foodie House

Patty and Crispin at Baking is Hot

Rachel at MuffinEgg

Aku at The Cloud and the Kitchen

I am apparently supposed to tell you 7 things about myself (that’s me in the middle, flanked on my right by my little sister, Sammy, and her boyfriend, Andy):

1. I am left-handed.  Does that make me right-brained?  I don’t know.

2.  My mom actually spelled my name “wrong” on the birth certificate-hence only one ‘n’ in Shanon.

3.  I am moving to New England in 6 months, found an apartment online, and successfully signed a lease 2 weeks ago-so excited!

4. I have a black cat named Jinx.

5. I can wiggle my ears.

6. My favorite movie is the 1986 Jim Henson classic, The Labyrinth.  Yes, I actually just published that.

7. I have technically been in training/school for 27 years now.  Next year is my last year before I get my real grown-up job. HECK YEAH!

January 12, 2011 - 6:21 am

Lauren at KeepItSweet - If you say these are the best brownies, I am definitely trying them! I bet that using a combination of cocoa powder and chocolate has a major impact.

January 12, 2011 - 8:08 am

georgia - Yes Lauren they are great brownies! I ate every last crumb!!

January 12, 2011 - 8:09 am

Blog is the New Black - Gorgeous pics, great recipe. Where in NE are you moving?! I am a Bostonian!

January 12, 2011 - 8:19 am

srlacy - Liz-

I’m going to New Hampshire to finish up at Dartmouth next year! I am so excited. One of my best friends is in Boston, and he loves it so far. I’m hoping to visit him when I’m out there!

January 12, 2011 - 8:20 am

Tiffany @ Conor & Bella - Oh my gosh those brownies. !!!

January 12, 2011 - 10:29 am

Patty - Congrats on the award – much deserved! Thanks so much for the kind mention too. 🙂

These brownies sounds incredible. I agree with you – moderation is the key!

January 12, 2011 - 10:50 am

Aku - Oooh you just made my heart jump a little! Thanks for sending some food blog lovin’ my way 🙂 My most recent post is brownies too–I had to satisfy an all-consuming chocolate craving last night with storecupboard ingredients (ie no actual chocolate) and they totally hit the spot. Will try yours next time though!

January 12, 2011 - 12:14 pm

Chef Dennis - Hi Shanon
Congrats on a much deserved award!! You certainly picked a great bunch of bloggers to give it too, they are all my favorites!
Thanks for sharing so much about you, my wife is a lefty and she is always setting the table backwards…lol…
I love Labyrinth, one of Bowie’s best roles! and I can wiggle my ears too, it really freaks people out!
Now those brownies my dear……oh how I wish I had a few right now, they look delicious!

January 12, 2011 - 4:37 pm

Courtney - Aw, thanks so much for mentioning me! 🙂 I really love The Labyrinth, too. I actually have the song Magic Dance on my iTunes playlist.

Also, those brownies look out of this world delicious! I can’t wait to try them!

January 13, 2011 - 6:18 am

fooddreamer (Carolyn) - Wow, thanks so much for passing on the award, I am honoured! I like “Shanon” with juse one n, it’s very elegant. And the brownies aren’t exactly elegant but they look delicious!
I always joke to my husband that one of my favourite cookbooks should actually be called “12 Tablespoons of Butter” because almost every recipe seems to take that amount. But 3 sticks, wowza! My kind of brownie.

January 13, 2011 - 4:46 pm

Jacob's Kitchen - (Blush)

I am so flattered. One, because your blog is always so lovely. You definitely give us (relative) newbies something to aspire to. And two to be among such other great bloggers that you named above (all of whom I also visit, admire, and draw inspiration from) =) So thank you! It is much appreciated.

These brownies look amazing. I almost need a glass of milk just to wash down the photos. I love how little flour they call for. I mean, who doesn’t love a nice fudgey brownie? Perfection. Nicely done. =)


January 13, 2011 - 10:19 pm

Kim - Liv Life - For the “best brownies ever” 3 sticks of butter is totally calorie-worthy! Your pictures said it all, and if I hadn’t just eaten the rest of our ice cream I’d be whipping up a batch of these!
Thank you so much for the award! I was so surprised to see my name there. You absolutely made my day!
Congrats on your award as well, stylish is the perfect word for you blog. Nicely done!

January 13, 2011 - 11:11 pm

Josie - These brownies look amazing – I thumbed through Ad Hoc at Home last time I was at Barnes and Noble, and I’m kicking myself for not buying it!
Also, thanks for the mention – your blog is pretty fabulous as well, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

January 14, 2011 - 3:18 pm

Claire - Congratulations! I can soooo relate to the 23+ years of being in school and training.

January 16, 2011 - 12:17 am

Kendra - This was the first recipe I made out of Ad Hoc at Home! I stared at the three sticks of butter line for awhile before taking the plunge, but so so so worth it! And rich so it does satisfy that craving with just a little square!

January 19, 2011 - 3:47 pm

Jenny @ StrungByColor - Awww thanks for the shout-out, Shan! SO nice of you. I actually do the Foodie Fridays on the Boling blog…but I love the traffic you generated on StrungByColor. Hopefully food blog followers also like crafting and handmade accessories! 🙂

January 19, 2011 - 3:50 pm

srlacy - Yep I totally realized that after I posted it. Oooooppps. 😉

January 19, 2011 - 10:23 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - thanks for the award, you’re so sweet and your blog is one of my faves. why? well, these brownies for one 🙂

February 8, 2011 - 9:01 pm

Jacqueline - I made these today and I don’t know where I went wrong!
The batter seemed to be all separated liquid butter. It then bubbled to the top and left me with a buttery mess. Was the butter all supposed to be melted or semi-solid?


February 8, 2011 - 9:20 pm

srlacy - Hmmm, Jacqueline.

When I made them, the half melted butter and the half solid butter left me with a semi-solid mixture. I have noticed that sometimes salted butter will do the bubbling thing. Overall, though, when you combine the two butter mixtures, it should not be liquid. I hope they still tasted ok!

February 9, 2011 - 6:03 am

Jacqueline - Where I live unsalted butter is impossible to find, so I skipped the additional salt.
We’re not discouraged though LOL we are making them again today!