Desserts – State by State: Illinois

Chocoholics unite! Brownies are where it’s at.

Sure cookies have their creamy morsels and cakes have their silky frostings. But only brownies possess that luscious cocoa fudgyness combined with a scrumptiously flaky top that makes you want to test whether one could really live on just sweets. Perhaps the Bible has been mistranslated all these years. I posit that what Jesus actually said was, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every brownie that comes from the mouth of God. For a perfectly baked brownie truly is heaven on earth.”

Even a mere babe knows a good brownie when she sees one. I placed the plate of brownies on the floor near a large window in order to take a few pics with good light. About 2.5 milliseconds in, the following sequence occurred.

Miraculously, I got one clear pic before the toddler invasion
Miraculously, I got one clear pic before the toddler invasion
"These are within reach, therefore they must be meant for me"
“These are within reach, therefore they must be meant for me”
aaaaaand we're double fisting
aaaaaand we’re double fisting

I guess she gets it honest.

Brownies are by nature rather unforgiving so it’s important to have a great recipe. Fortunately I’ve found one, and thanks to the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the great state of Illinois has provided a conduit through which I can share it with you here.

This recipe comes from Joy the Baker, but I have made one small yet crucial ingredient swap. In this version we’re combining chocolate with coconut oil. The results are heavenly.

State by State Desserts: Illinois – Brownies

Fantastic: Thank you, Illinois, for sharing this dessert with the rest of us!

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Yield: 1 9×13 baking pan

Ease of Preparation: Easy


  • 8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 14 Tbs extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/3 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

Place rack in upper 1/3 of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking pan, then line with aluminum foil and butter the foil (you can also use coconut oil if you prefer). This allows for easy removal.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Coarsely chop chocolate then place chocolate and coconut oil in a large metal or tempered glass bowl. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water.  Stir until chocolate and oil are completely melted together.  Remove bowl from boiling water and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Whisk until pale and thick.  Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Whisk until completely incorporated.  Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk until just incorporated.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 28 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Place baking pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Then using the ends of the foil, remove brownies from the pan. Place foil and brownies back on the cooling rack to cool completely. Remove foil, cut and serve.



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