Care Package Brownies

These care-package brownies, laden with chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, and cocoa powder, are intensely rich and fudgy. They also travel exceptionally well, whether you ship through the post office or simply drop them off on a porch.

Squares of care-package brownies on parchment paper

These brownies are designed with three things in mind: flavor, longevity, and durability. A borderline obscene amount of chocolate in three forms ensures a rich brownie that doesn’t turn dry even after days, offsetting the lack of butter and making them perfect for sending to your favorite soldier [Editor’s Note: Or college student. Or grandchild. Or dear friend who you want to do something kind for and so you drop these off on the porch. Of course, don’t let these brownies’ profound travel ability preclude you from simply baking a batch for yourself. A Saturday afternoon seems good enough reason to us.]–Garrett McCord

How to package brownies for

To package the brownies for shipping, wrap each in foil as a barrier against humidity or in plastic wrap to protect them from dry heat. Place them in a resealable plastic bag and place that in a sturdy box cushioned with some sort of packing material, whether crumpled newspaper or magazine pages or even popped popcorn.

Care Package Brownies

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 9 brownies
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9-inch baking dish with oil. Line the dish with a piece of parchment paper, allowing the overhang to drape over two sides (you can later use these flaps to lift the brownies out of the pan). Lightly oil the parchment as well.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt.

In another bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla extract until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 20 seconds or so after each addition, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Still beating, add the flour mixture and beat it in, being sure to pause and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl at least once, until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate and cocoa nibs, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the edges begin to pull from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. This should take 25 to 30 minutes if using an 8-inch pan, 20 to 25 minutes if using a 9-inch pan. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and ship or serve. Originally published March 17, 2011.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Overall, these were everything a brownie should be: cakey, full of chocolate flavor, moist, and a little crunchy. This was an incredibly easy recipe, yielding chocolaty, moist brownies. They were almost too moist on the first day—we managed to keep them for four days, and they continued to get better the longer they sat.

Since these are called “Care Package Brownies” and need to last, the vegetable oil instead of butter makes sense. I had difficulty finding cocoa nibs, but finally found them at Sur la Table for a small fortune. The nibs do add a bit of texture and bitterness that complements sweet chocolate. My testers thought they were small pieces of nuts.

This recipe yielded the perfect crackly outside, and moist, chewy inside that we love from brownies. The chocolate flavor was intense, accented by the addition of the espresso powder. I substituted additional chocolate chips for the cocoa nibs because I couldn’t find them.

I used an 8-by-8-inch pan, and it gave me the size/thickness of brownie that I prefer. This is a great brownie recipe for novices, as it’s easy—there’s no butter to melt and no chocolate to temper.

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Comments

  1. Perfect!! i was looking for a recipe exactly like this, durability!!!…but i have one problem while trying to make something else i am left with homemade chocolate made with coconut oil (no butter), can i use that in this recipe like beat the chocolate (which melts at room temperature by the way) with eggs and add the flour mixture? Will that work?

    1. Dhatri, I wouldn’t. Baking is so precise and its chemistry so exact, that it might not work the way you want. Plus, we didn’t test it that way, so we can’t vouch for it.

  2. I think this recipe differs somewhat from traditional brownie recipes in that it uses cocoa nibs. The brownies have a really nice flavor with the addition of the espresso granules, and the cocoa nibs add a nice crunch—a great thing for folks who don’t like nuts in their brownies. The directions were easy to follow, and cut easily once cooled. They were still moist and delicious after a couple of days, when stored in an airtight plastic container.

    One drawback, however, is that cocoa nibs can be expensive. Also, they’re not easily found—certainly not in a regular supermarket.

    1. Kristy, I’m not that experienced at extending the life of baked goods, so perhaps someone else will have some additional advice. The only thing that comes to mind is if you own (or could borrow) a vacuum-sealer then I think you could cut the brownies and seal them, 1 per package, and they may last that long. Good luck! And kindly let us know what you decide to do and how it works…

    1. Kristy, that sorta depends on the environment the brownies are in, but ours lasted 5 days during shipping and arrived just as lovely as the day they were baked. (Yes, we snitched one!)

  3. Here is another tip for longer lasting baked goods. I read an academic article researching this very issue and testing different oils for longevity of freshness. They found that rice bran oil was the longest lasting. So maybe consider baking these or other baked goods to ship using rice bran oil. Unfortunately I no longer know the link to that article.

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