Classic Fudgy Brownies

Story by Holly
Classic Fudgy Brownies
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We all love a good brownie, and if we're honest we also (perhaps secretly) love a good boxed brownie. There's just something about them to me that is equal parts nostalgic and guilty pleasure. Boxed brownies have come to take on special meaning to our family over the last three years. I have an awesome brownie recipe to share with you as a result, but first I'll share a bit about something personal, and why these particular brownies are extra meaningful to me

It's small things like a shared dessert that help my son feel included and valued by those he loves.

Classic Fudgy Brownies

When my son was 10 weeks old we discovered that he was deathly allergic to dairy protein (both casein and whey). If you're someone who has a severe food allergy, you understand the pain and disappointment that comes with not being able to participate in the eating of delicious things, especially if you have to sit and watch everyone else’s faces light up with delight while enjoying them. It’s an experience I've become all too familiar and sensitive to on account of my son’s situation, but one that was not entirely foreign to me before he was diagnosed.

Many years ago, before I had children, I had a dear friend get diagnosed with celiac disease. That year, I catered our church’s super bowl party. Because I knew my friend would be attending, I went out of my way to make as many things gluten free as possible. When my friend attended the party and realized what I’d done, she thanked me in tears. What seemed like a small and simple enough gesture to me given her difficult circumstances meant the world to her. She felt included, she felt noticed, she could partake with everyone else. Because of that experience, and especially now that food allergies hit (literally) so close to home, I make it a point to ask my dinner guests in advance if they have any food sensitivities.

Classic Fudgy Brownies

Back to my boy’s story, I am now that mother that cries every time someone goes out of their way preparing food that my son can partake in. Most recently we got invited to a birthday party and the mom made ALL the cupcakes dairy free. There went the waterworks. What a thoughtful and inclusive gesture!

Ever since my son was two years old, my mom has been making him boxed brownies (made with a neutral oil) to substitute whatever other dessert might be being served during our family’s special occasions. It's become something he's grown to look forward to, rather than something I have to dread (thank you, mom!). Recently, my son was in tears about not being able to eat a dairy-filled treat that other children were getting to enjoy, when his thoughts wandered to his grandma’s brownies.

He asked me why it had been so long since his grammie had made him brownies. I told my mom this story and the next thing you know we were at my mom’s house for dinner and he was on a stool making the treat he loves most...boxed brownies. Since seeing the joy these treats bring my son, in a food world where so much is off limits, I've begun making them a bit more at home. I use this homemade recipe (you convince myself they're better for me than they are...because everything homemade is naturally better, right? Right?!), which includes oil, rather than butter, and add an extra egg yolk to give them that extra dense texture that can make boxed brownies so heavenly. On special occasions, we’ll top these lovelies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (coconut based of course) and can enjoy a treat together, as a family. It's small things like a shared dessert that help my son feel included and valued by those he loves. Seeing his reaction, and that of my friend’s a long time ago, are a constant reminder to make that extra little effort when entertaining to be equally accommodating and welcoming to all of our guests. I would encourage you to take the time to do the same, just don't be surprised when tears of appreciation flow at your thoughtful gesture.

Classic Fudgy Brownies
Classic Fudgy Brownies

Classic Fudgy Brownies

Serves 9


1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs 2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Turn oven to 350°
  2. Grease and flour a 8 x 8 baking pan or line it with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir oil with both sugars and vanilla. Mix in eggs. Stir in flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake in the oven for 29-32 minutes. Do not over bake! To test the brownies for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the pan. When the toothpick comes out clean they are ready! Wait at least 10 minutes for the brownies to cool before cutting and serving.