Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rich chocolate brownies in a cast-iron skillet


I had the pleasure of spending a girls’ weekend with our book club at Wildberry Inn,a  lovely spot  on a wooded property in the lovely ski resort of Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. It belongs to our book club member, Sharon.  If you remember my book club (it is also Linda/Erika’s book club), there are only two rules: there must be wine and there must be chocolate.

We had a great time cooking, eating, shopping, talking, and relaxing. Yes, we even discussed the book.

I thought it would be a perfect time and place to test a recipe for brownies in a cast iron skillet. I’ve been seeing them around and they all sound mouth-watering, but way too much 'brownie' for two people who really should be on a diet.  There was the book club: perfect guinea pigs or sitting ducks, however you want to look at it.   After all, it's food food food from Ulla's magnificent brunch (I'll try to score those recipes for you) 

to our candlelight dinners.

So here's what I came up with for our brownie dessert, combining a few recipes and my own preferences. I was going to add peanut butter chips but was VOTED DOWN!  There's always next time.   I think it’s a very forgiving recipe and you could just use your favorite brownie recipe and add to the skillet. 
By the way, there was a great kitchen: here's Sharon whipping up something!


You will need:


10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar, sifted
3 extra large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp pure almond extract
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons good cocoa
1 cup butterscotch chips, plus a few more for the top
Ice cream or whipping cream

 9 - 10 inch cast iron skillet, greased


My friend Kath kept me focused.  Here's Kath, chopping chocolate:

All you do is:

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a pot over medium heat, stirring, until melted.  Pour into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Combine flour, cocoa and salt and blend.
Meanwhile stir sugar into chocolate mixture. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and almond flavoring and blend until smooth.  

Fold in flour mixture.  Stir in butterscotch chips.  I added a few extra on the top for good luck.

Pour into skillet.

  Bake for 28 to 33 minutes until still a tiny bit gooey.   Test with a toothpick.

Cool for ten to fifteen minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream. We think it would be good with whipping cream and a bit of Kahlua, but that’s just us.

This served eight people with a nice piece left over for future nibbling. It played a small but tasty part in a weekend that would have been perfect if only our friends Linda and Kathleen had been there.

By the way, we  (THAT'S VICTORIA ABBOTT) were very excited while heading out on this weekend adventure to learn that THE MARSH MADNESS was shortlisted for a Bony Blithe Award, for 'mysteries that make us smile'. 

If you haven't read THE MARSH MADNESS yet, it's easy to get!  HERE
Or ask your favorite bookseller.  

And if you have read it, then keep in mind that THE HAMMETT HEX is now ready for pre-order.

Or wherever you like to order books!


  1. My husband's co worker gave my husband a cast iron skillet. As a result, I'm always on the lookout for recipes where I can use the skillet. This recipe sounds delicious and I'm looking forward to trying it.

    1. Lovely! I hope you enjoy it, Dianne! We love our cast-iron skillet. Thanks for coming by.

      Hugs. MJ/VA

  2. What fun! Cooking with a group is always a treat (especially if there's wine involved). And you can't go wrong with chocolate.

  3. That looks like a fabulous weekend! and the brownies look wonderful too. and huge congrats on the Bonnie Blythe award nod. (Where did that name come from?)

    1. Thanks, Roberta! I think the award evolved from the Bony Pete short story award at the Bloody Words. I think Blithe was just a happy smiley word. Alcohol was probably involved. XO MJ/VA

  4. Replies
    1. We love them too, Celia! Thanks for coming by today. Hugs. MJ/VA

  5. 1-Congratulations!
    2-Great recipe
    3-Great book club rules

    Your picture is so cute. You to are certainly photogenic.

    1. Thanks, Libby, and congrats about being able to post comments again.

      I am glad we got the 1, 2, 3!

      We like to have our photos in low light. Nudge. wink. XO MJ

  6. Those look heavenly! I have my grandmother's old cast iron skillet (to cast iron skillets ever die?) and I will definitely try these!

    1. Nice, Peg! I have my mother's cast iron dutch oven and I love it. Let me know if it works. I might do your Christmas pancake in it some day. We loved that recipe. Hugs. MJ

  7. Congratulations on the Bony Blithe nomination! Yay! And let me just say how very jealous I am of your book club. What a wonderful group. I'm very impressed by your recipe as well. However, since I have neither a book club nor an inn, I fear I may have to try it with fewer people!

    1. Thanks, Krista! Inns are hard to come by and book clubs can be too, but I think these will freeze as well as any brownie. We were seven plus Sharon's husband so that was moot.

      Hugs. MJ

  8. What an awesome recipe. I have never made brownies on the skillet, but I want to try it. Thank you. :) Chocolate!!!!

  9. This was a great weekend filled with many of the fine things in life -- wine, chocolate, friends, shopping, books, laughter, slippers, and many tasty things to eat. Thanks MJ for letting us be the guinea pigs(test experts?)for your very yummy skillet brownies. Awesome!