Best Basic Brownies

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Over the past three decades or so, I've tried and tweaked more brownie recipes than I can count. They never turn out the way I want. Too dry. Too mushy. Too hard around the edges. Too much trouble. Then along came a recipe that was close and after a few tweaks resulted in just what I hoped for: the best basic brownies. This is my tweaked recipe. It's basic. Which is how I like my brownies. But it goes from basic to BAM! with stir-ins or toppings for non-basic brownie lovers.

Important note: I live — and bake — at high altitude (6,035 feet). If you live below 5,000 feet, you may get better results with these brownies by lowering the temp to 350 degrees and increasing the bake time 5 minutes or so.

1 1/3 cup flour

1 2/3 cups sugar

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled*

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (*OR a total of 3/4 cup butter or margarine if you have no coconut oil on hand)

2 eggs

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla

optional stir-ins or toppings: chocolate chips, M&Ms, nuts, frosting, etc.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (first five ingredients). Add all the wet ingredients (all remaining ingredients minus the stir-ins/toppings) and stir, stir, stir by hand until well mixed but not overly smooth. Batter will be super thick.

If opting for stir-ins, this is where you stir them in.

Pour into prepared pan, spreading the thick batter throughout using the back of the mixing spoon. If adding toppings, add them now.

Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out slightly sticky. Cool 10 minutes then cut into squares.

Makes 24 one-inch servings.

Another option: These are flatter brownies but if you prefer the super thick sort, use a 9 X 9 baking dish and increase baking time 5-10 minutes, checking with a toothpick after 5. Will make fewer (but thicker) treats.

Another brownie: I do have a super rich, super sweet, not-so-basic brownie recipe, too. Right here.