I have been craving chocolate... craving for a while now. Not a bar or two. Not even a cake or an ice cream. A wicked craving. Shut myself away from the world, witting with knees folded on the couch, my favourite music playing in the background, a rich, luscious, sinful dessert in my hands, savoring each mouthful. I always want chocolate. It doesn't matter if it's day or night, hot or cold. Chocolate and I have a pretty special thing goin' on. It's no secret that a brownie is a decadent, molten chocolate indulgence that will satisfy you even in chocolate-emergency situations. They can be so easy to whip up in no time flat and everyone loves them. Total dessert win. 

You see, I have very high standards when it comes to homemade brownies. I want them to be like the box mix - the dense, moist and fudgy texture is not all different from what you can expect from the boxed mixes. It gets better too because they are homemade. They need to be thick too. And since we're using cocoa powder, they aren't overly sweet. I was able to fine-tune the brownies so that the middles were softer and moist and the tops were shiny and candy-like. The recipe is pure gold. Well, I cannot guarantee success because unfortunately, brownies are just one of those desserts that are difficult to master.

Biting into these is pure R-rated heaven.

This is by far my favourite brownie recipe and I am happy to share it with you today. These homemade fudgy brownies are thick, chewy, fudgy and made completely from scratch. You'll never need a box mix again!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes


1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1⅓ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, cold
¾ cup all-purpose flour
5 oz roughly chopped dark chocolate cocoa (54-70 percent cocoa)

  1. Position rack in upper third of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
  3. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on each side.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Mix in both sugars, the cocoa powder and salt with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. The mixture should be lukewarm before adding the eggs. If not, set aside to cool slightly. To test, a clean finger should be able to comfortable stay in the mixture without getting burned.
  6. Vigorously stir in the vanilla and eggs. Once the batter appears shiny and the eggs are blended in well, add the flour and mix just until the flour has disappeared. 
  7. Briskly stir in the chopped chocolate and spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 38-43 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter.
  9. Allow brownies to cool in the pan placed on wire rack. Life the parchment paper and transfer brownies to a cutting board and cut into 16 equal squares.
This recipe is adapted from Handmade Baking by Kamran Siddiqi. Kamran is a genius when it comes to chocolate. Check it out if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth or visit Sophisticated Gourmet for more goodies.

Whisk your butter and sugar really well.
Beat in your eggs for a good minute. This step is crucial for that crackly top.
Do NOT over beat your batter once the flour and cocoa powder are added. That creates air in the batter which will give you cake-like textured brownies. 
You may use foil liner instead of parchment paper. Just lightly grease it with oil.
I have used dark brown sugar. You may use sugar of your choice.
If sugar granules are large then after measuring, you may pulse it in your blender and use.
Store brownies in a cool dry place for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Hope you like this recipe as much as I do. Now, go satisfy your craving and get to baking!

If you like this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #panphila - I love to see your creation on Instagram!

Images via Bakerella

Well, here is a link I just found while Googling the web:

Just wanted to share this with my brothers and sisters out there who may not have had the best Ramadan but will use that to make this next year a million times better, inshaAllah. I haven't gotten around to reading the entire thing although I like what I read in the first few sections. Hope it helps in some way.

The beginning of my Ramadan was amazing. Unfortunately, it ended on a semi bad note. The day after Ramadan is so... weird. A whole month of unimaginable blessings has slipped through my fingers. It's as if the entire world assumed its position back to where it first began. It's as if everyone suddenly went back to who they were. The entire atmosphere is so off, everyone is so different. I have tried my best to fast and pray, but I still feel I could have done so much more. How fascinating that we go to bed and awaken back to the same people we regretted once before. How fascinating that we have so easily reverted back to our old behaviours, our bad characters, our bad manners and it's not to say that everyone is so, but... is it that easy to just forget that we spent 30 full days of complete servitude and complete remembrance of Allah in our every dealings?

I have realized that focusing on my breathing during prayer and focusing on each and every single word really does center my soul with the universe and it keeps me grounded and connected to the roots below my feet. The bowing and prostration in Islamic prayer has so much meaning and significance. For example, it humbles you because you are submitting to a greater being. And even when reciting Qur'an, focus on your breathing, on your words, on the sound and surely, you will move yourself. I have been on the same surah for about 5-6 months now. I'm not in a race to finish the Qur'an. And I realized that Ramadan is not about finishing the Qur'an. It's about trying to understand it better. It's about knowing our flaws to work on them for the rest of the year.

I know my flaws. I'm still on my journey to my spiritual center everyday. I see them even clearer with everything that recently took place in my life, and well, I can only hope for the best and remember to breath and think of Allah when I feel that I'm at a breaking point. I ask Allah that we all maintain the firmness that we have acquired during Ramadan and to maintain our consistency of doing good and leaving off the evils. I seek refuge in Allah from the rejected shaytan and from his whispers and from my own nafs. I aks Allah that we all improve and become the best of people; in the eyes of no one but Allah. May He keep us on the continuous path toward self-improvement.

Hope it is not too late to wish you all Eid Mubarak! Thank you for the support. Don't get so caught up in the celebration. Remember, what brought you to the celebration.
Image via Flickr