Brownies for a Crowd

brownie croppedThe other day I needed to make lots and lots of brownies…enough for 60 women. And because “good enough” just doesn’t cut it for our Homemakers’ Club annual spring tea, I also felt the urge to gussy them up and make them pretty.

brownies for tea watermark

I usually use a mixture of oil and butter in my brownies, but I wanted these to be rich and decadent, so I skipped the oil and used lots of butter. They turned out even better than I’d hoped, with enough height to look impressive, and a density somewhere between fudge brownies and cake brownies.

If you don’t have a crowd to cook for, you could cut the recipe in half of course. But I’d go for the full recipe and freeze some if I were you; they’re that good!


Brownies for a Crowd
Makes approximately 72 brownies, 1½-inch by 2-inches each.
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2¼ cups (4½ sticks) butter, melted
  • 9 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup "Special Dark" cocoa powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (more if desired)
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lightly grease two 9-inch by 13-inch baking pans, line with parchment, (the grease will hold the parchment in place) and spray lightly with an oil/flour combination spray like Baker's Joy.
  3. In a very large bowl, combine the sugar and melted butter. Stir well.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla until frothy. Add slowly to the sugar mixture, stirring well.,
  5. Add the cocoa powders, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until combined.
  6. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  7. Divide evenly between baking pans, spreading with a dough scraper or offset spatula.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of the brownies comes out clean. If it has batter on it, bake in 3 minute increments until done. Don't overbake.
  9. Cool COMPLETELY in pans on cooling racks. Remove the brownies by lifting the edges of the parchment. Mark and cut as desired. Since they are thick and rich, I found that 1½-inch by 2-inch pieces were perfect.

Spreading batter. (I used one huge pan, 13" x 18")

Spreading batter. (I used one huge pan, 13″ x 18″)

I was so busy slam-dunking this project, I failed to take pictures as I went. But the decorations were pretty simple for the most part. A swirl of chocolate buttercream icing (ganache would be great, too!) a few buttercream roses and leaves, and nifty little edible flowers and butterflies I got from Sugar Robot. There is no sugar in them, so they were perfect as decorations for the batch of sugar-free brownies I also made.

jelly bean beeThe little bees were simple and fun to make. To make a bee I used two jelly beans – a yellow one for the body and a “ginger ale” jelly bean for the head and wings. (White would do nicely, too.) I melted a little white chocolate in a small dish to use as glue, then cut the end off of one of the lighter beans for a head and glued it to the end of a yellow bean, using the white chocolate. Then two more thin slices of the light bean were attached to the sides for wings. You will need to hold them in place for a few seconds to let the white chocolate dry.

Melt a small amount of dark chocolate in a plastic zipper-type bag and snip a teeny tiny bit of one corner off. Dot eyes onto the head and then stripes on the back of the yellow bean. (The reason my stripes look a little wimpy is because I thought I’d try painting them with black paste food coloring. Not recommended!) That’s it. Let them dry for a few minutes before moving them onto the brownies.

Here’s how I know these brownies are the best I’ve made: usually, I prefer them with lots of chocolate icing, but I had some leftovers that didn’t get decorated, and I actually preferred them plain. Irresistible!

Happy spring…


4 thoughts on “Brownies for a Crowd

  1. You have me at “somewhere between fudge brownies and cake brownies” — my favorite brownie texture! Will try the whole recipe. I just hope my freezer is big enough; that looks like a big panful.

    • I used a big pan – it was an odd size, but about 13″x18″. Or maybe 19″. But two 9″x13″ pans will work well. They’re so good, Mary Rose – I think you’ll do well to toss the bags of frozen broccoli out of your freezer to make room 😉

  2. This will be great for our next senior center fashion show and tea potluck.
    I’ll have to hide them from Jim or I’ll have to make two batches.

    • Good call, Jeannie! Since a lot of the women in our group are seniors, I made a batch of sugar-free brownies too, using Splenda. Not MY favorite, but they were enjoyed. Thanks for the comment…it’s always appreciated.

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