Three ways I know I am not a natural born baker: (1) I hate to measure; (2) It never occurs to me that my pantry always has all of the ingredients needed for basic cookies, cakes and muffins; and (3) If what I'm baking doesn't contain chocolate, I just don't see the point in making it. Over the holidays, while cleaning out my pantry, I discovered three (!) tins of Hershey's cocoa powder. It was a sign, and these brownie cupcakes, made from a recipe on the Hershey's web site -- with a bowl and spoon, and no mixer to clean -- were the result. The cupcakes are slightly gooey inside, as good brownies should be, and they were rich enough without frosting, though you certainly could frost them, and add sprinkles and nuts and M&Ms and anything else. I had a bit of royal icing on hand, and used that for a simple swirl. We stored leftovers in an air-tight container for two days, which was the limit of how long we could hold out before finishing every last bite.
This recipe, from the Hershey's web site, makes 15 2-inch cupcakes (without nuts).
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1-1/3 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with 15 paper baking cups (use two muffin pans, and divide the number of muffins equally between them), and set aside.
Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl (I use an 8-cup glass measuring cup). Microwave on HIGH for 1-1/2 minutes, or until the butter is melted.
With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth. Then, add both sugars, and stir until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour and, if you're using them, 1 cup of the walnuts, and stir until the batter is well combined.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle remaining chopped nuts (optional) over the top of each.
Bake 22-25 minutes, until the tops are cracked and feel firm (the inside will still be moist).
Remove from the oven and let the brownies sit in the muffin pan for 10 minutes. Then, remove to a wire rack, and cool completely.
Can be stored overnight in an airtight container at room temperature.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Chocolate fudge cupcakes, from Sass & Veracity
Chocolate stout cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting, from Pinch My Salt
German chocolate brownies, from My Baking Addiction
Chocolate brownie cookies, from Joy the Baker
Chocolate mint brownies, from David Lebovitz
Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.