What Would Jessie Dish? Wednesdays – Week 2: Double-Chocolate Gooey Brownies

Of the nearly 20 recipes I recently found in my grandmother’s file, I was most excited about the one for brownies. I recall these brownies from my childhood and often wondered what exactly was the recipe was for Jessie’s version, which she always dusted with powdered sugar.

If the amount of sugar and chocolate chips are an indication in the recipe below (typed neatly on a 3″ x 5″ card), my grandmother definitely had a sweet tooth. For further proof, the majority of recipes I discovered are on the dessert/sweet side. Then there was the hiding place for sweets in Jessie’s living room.

Whenever I went to my grandmother’s apartment, I immediately would head over to a small end table – with a false-front of leather-bound books – which opened to reveal a cache of sweets: spherical chocolate mint candies in pastels (a chocolate centre was surrounded by a thin white fondant layer of mint, with a harder panned coating), jelly fruit slices, various hard candies (the least interesting to me), and boxes of Fannie May Chocolates.  This Fannie May had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis in the US, but rather  was a Chicago institution until recently, when most of its retail stores started to close down, leaving just an online presence. I especially liked their Mint Meltaways, maple walnut fudge, and a thin chocolate mint for summer, in pastel pink or green, with some  crunch peppermint candy bits embedded, which I have just learned, is known as “pink ice” (I saw no reference to the green variety, which I distinctly remember, too).

But back to the brownies. I recall the squares from my childhood as being a little more cakey than the recipe I prepared. The batch I baked were actually a fine example of a gooey-soft-chewy brownie – decidedly not cakey and a bit more delicate than dense fudgey ones. This is a very quick dish to bake, and it would be good to whip up at a moment’s notice for company or a week-night dessert.

More on Jessie’s Double-Chocolate Gooey Brownie – and the recipe

The chocolate has good depth of flavour but is not overwhelming; the chocolate chips provide nice toothsome texture, when fully cooled, or a burst of molten chocolate when just out of the oven, contrasting with the decidedly moist brownie. It is predictably sweet, as one might deduce, from the proportions. I wonder about adding some espresso powder to enhance the depth of flavour, but I have yet to try that variation, which would be a departure from the original.

This recipe is similar in proportions to Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies, which I had made out of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Although the flour in Jessie’s is double that of the latter recipe’s, the textures were pretty close.

Where or when my grandmother found the recipe, I really cannot say, and this is not exactly as I remember it. Is it my memory or some other factor?  Who can say?  Nonetheless, it is one I will include in my cannon of brownies – various recipes for different occasions, urges, moods, and seasons – brownies are not one size-fits-all….regardless of your collection of brownie recipes, be it expansive or minimal, I believe this is a worthwhile addition to your own cannon of brownies – with powdered sugar on top, of course.  Thanks, Grandma Jessie, for writing this one down!

Jessie’s Double-Chocolate Gooey Brownies, from Jessie’s recipe file


1 stick butter (4 ounces)
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 pinch sea salt
½ cup unbleached AP flour {All-purpose, for you readers who may not be current with grain terminology)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (or, icing, or confectioner’s sugar, for you bakers who prefer other sweet synonyms)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8” x 8” inch pan, preferably non-stick.

1. Melt butter and chocolate, either in double-boiler, or in the microwave (pretty much all I use mine for, other than heating milk for coffee…) at 75% power, stirring at one minute intervals, until the chocolate is almost entirely melted, but not quite. Let cool for a few minutes until just warm or tepid.
2. Add sugar to chocolate-butter, mixing thoroughly.
3. Incorporate eggs until well-blended, then stir in vanilla, followed by pinch of salt.
4. Fold in flour gently, just until almost mixed, at which time the chocolate chips
5. Place brownie pan on lower-middle baking shelf.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is pale, mocha colour, and a few wet crumbs stick to tester; the brownies will be very wet.

7 responses to “What Would Jessie Dish? Wednesdays – Week 2: Double-Chocolate Gooey Brownies

  1. These looks almost like Swedish brownies, and so good and soft and chewy, just the way i like them.

  2. The last photo looks wonderful!

    My grandma never wrote down any of her recipes. I wished she did because trying to recreate the flavors of your favorite dishes from your childhood based on your memory can be quite challenging.

  3. Thanks, KM. I am trying to improve my foodstyling and photography skills, so I appreciate your kind remark.

    I find even comparing the actual recipe, when written by the grandmother-cook, to be different from the memories of a dish…quite fascinating.

  4. You’re right – they are very similar to my brownies! But then that’s because my ones are Katherine Hepburn’s brownies =)

    They look awesome – love that sugary crust on top – and how cool that you’re recreating your Nan’s recipes.

    Jax x

  5. Pingback: Double-Chocolate Double-Malt Frosted Brownies: Recycling and Reusing Recipes | IslandEAT

  6. Love, Love, Love your Blog!!! The recipes look and sound wonderful. Could u use powered cocoa, such as Hershey’s instead of the bars???

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