This is not your everyday brownie. My mother-in-law, Marge, makes them using her great aunt Honey’s family recipe, and they were the brownies of my wife’s childhood. This kind of brownie is much more like a cake and not as dense and gooey as a typical brownie; I think the old-school frosting is the best part.

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  • 2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  • cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square pan with butter.

Melt the chocolate in a glass measuring cup in a microwave on 50% power at 20-second intervals, stirring between each burst. Stop when the chocolate is nearly melted; the residual heat will finish the job. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and granulated sugar together until fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and combine, then beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the flour.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the Frosting

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth, then gradually beat in the sugar mixture alternately with the evaporated milk. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on mediumhigh until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If necessary, adjust the consistency with more milk or sugar.

When the brownies are cool, apply a liberal coating of the frosting and cut into squares. Sprinkle some or all of the brownies with the choppped nuts if desired.