Brownies are probably one of my favorite things to bake, because they’re so versatile. You can make them plain, add different flavors, put frosting on them…whatever you like. In this case, I chose to mix in some orange zest and a few drops of orange extract, then add a chocolate buttercream frosting. The end result is probably one of the best treats I’ve ever made. Or at least, it’s among my favorites.
Next time, I plan to add a few drops of orange extract into the frosting as well…but these treats were absolutely delicious. The brownie base is more on the fudgy side, which I prefer, and the orange adds a nice kick of flavor to complement the fudginess.
For the brownies
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 medium orange
- About 4-5 drops orange extract
For the frosting
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking tin with foil and lightly grease the foil. I also always sprinkle the bottom of the foil with sugar when I’m baking brownies for a crunchy bottom crust.
In a mixing bowl, stir together oil and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Stir in cocoa powder, then salt, flour, vanilla, orange zest, and orange extract until the batter is smooth.
Pour into the baking tin and spread into an even layer. Bake for 30-34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. These brownies are fudgy, but shouldn’t be too gooey in the middle when they’re done; the center will look mostly set on top.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting; to make frosting, in a mixing bowl, cream butter for about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and cocoa, beating on low speed to fully incorporate into the butter. Add 1 tablespoon milk and vanilla extract; beat to combine, scraping down your bowl a few times, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the second tablespoon of milk and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
Spread frosting over brownies; allow the frosting to set slightly before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 24.