These brownies are rich and fudgy and the best part is that you can add whatever flavoring you want to them! I personally like them with the cheesecake swirl or peanut butter cups, but they are even good just using chocolate chips and serving with vanilla ice cream. These brownies aren't difficult to make and are much better than a box (plus you can impress people telling them you made them from scratch)!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. applesauce (you can use 1 pack of those single serving applesauce containers)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. of your choice of mix-ins (mini marshmallows, chopped candy bars (Snickers, York peppermint patties, Reese's peanut butter cups, etc.), chopped nuts, dried fruit, chopped caramels, etc.) OR you can just use 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips for plain chocolate brownies OR for cheesecake brownies follow directions through pouring batter into pan (using 1 c. semisweet chips as mix-in) then beat together 1 package softened cream cheese (8 oz.), 1 egg, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 c. sugar. Swirl over top of brownies and bake as instructed in recipe.
Step 2: Mix up the brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Mix together the butter, applesauce, vanilla, brown sugar, and white sugar until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually mix into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in your choice of mix-ins (for this recipe I used Reese's peanut butter cups). Spread evenly into baking pan.
Step 3: Bake the brownies
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack. Cut brownies, serve, and enjoy!
Step 4: Serve and eat!
Serve the brownies however you want (on a platter, in a bowl with ice cream, on a plate with a fancy garnish, etc.). For the photos I used a Reese's peanut butter cup brownie with vanilla ice cream. Try not to eat them all in one sitting :)