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Betty Crocker Brownies

Enjoy a taste of the 1950s with this vintage Betty Crocker Brownies recipe. Densely chocolatey and chewy, these brownies are a trip down memory lane. Grab your apron and whip up a batch of nostalgia today!

Finished brownies on a white serving plate.

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My long-time hobby of collecting vintage items has sometimes led me on exciting adventures, both offline and online. One of my favorite finds was on eBay – a 1957 Betty Crocker advertising brochure featuring Softasilk cake flour.

The graphic style of that era has always appealed to me, and the promise of fabulous, timeless recipes made this brochure an irresistible treasure. After a bit of competitive bidding, I emerged victorious!

Betty Crocker advertising circular from 1957.

As I eagerly flipped through the pages, one recipe in particular caught my attention – a recipe for dense, chocolatey, chewy brownies. It was meant to be since I had all the ingredients readily available in my pantry.

So, without further ado, let’s put on our favorite aprons, and take a culinary trip back in time with these deliciously retro Betty Crocker 1957 Brownies!

❤️ Why I Love This Recipe


  • Rich and Chewy: This isn’t your average, everyday brownie recipe. They’re incredibly dense, chocolatey, and chewy–a very satisfying treat for chocolate lovers.
  • Simple Ingredients: The recipe uses basic pantry ingredients that you probably already have on hand, making it easy to whip up a batch of brownies whenever the craving strikes.
  • Versatile Treat: While the brownies are perfect on their own, they also serve as a versatile base for many desserts. Top one with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or drizzle with caramel sauce for an extra special treat!

🛒 Ingredient Notes


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  • Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: This recipe calls for unsweetened baking chocolate. This is unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate with little or no added sugar that is meant to be used in cooking. My preferred brand is Baker’s which is easily sourced in almost every grocery store.
  • Shortening: Shortening, such as Crisco, creates a chewy texture. If you prefer, you can substitute the same amount of butter or margarine, but this may change the texture and flavor slightly.
  • Cake Flour: The “Softasilk” cake flour in the original recipe is still available today although it is now produced by the Pillsbury company. Cake flour creates a lighter, more tender crumb.

👉 PRO TIP: No cake flour? Here’s what to do. If you don’t have cake flour, you can create a substitute by taking out two tablespoons of flour from one cup of all-purpose flour and adding two tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to get the equivalent of one cup of cake flour.

  • Pecans: The recipe calls for chopped pecans, which add a nice crunch and nutty flavor to the brownies. If you prefer, you can substitute walnuts or leave the nuts out altogether.
  • Butter: Butter is needed for the chocolate drizzle on top of the brownies. Use either salted or unsalted according to your preference.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: The semi-sweet chocolate chips in the chocolate drizzle provide a  balance of flavors to complement the rich, dense brownies. For a sweeter drizzle, substitute milk chocolate chips.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Betty Crocker 1957 Brownies


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8×8-inch baking pan and set it aside.

Make the Brownie Batter

  1. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir the mixture constantly until the chocolate has completely melted.

👉 PRO TIP: If you don’t have a proper double boiler, don’t despair. Place the chocolate and shortening in a heat-proof bowl, preferably glass, and set the bowl in the top of a saucepan containing simmering water. The bowl must be large enough to sit up above the water.

  1. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the sugar and eggs.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Mix in the nuts and vanilla extract.

👉 PRO TIP: I’m going to tell y’all…this batter gave my arm a workout! It’s very, very stiff and dense. If you want to use a stand mixer for this, please do! Can you believe that wooden spoon stood up straight in the batter like that? I believe it would have stayed there until I pulled it out, too.

  1. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Because the batter is so stiff, this is much easier to do if you just rub a little butter on your fingertips and press it into the corner and around the edges.
  2. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top has a dull appearance.
  3. Remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Make the Chocolate Drizzle

  1. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a small microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate chips are melted.

👉 PRO TIP: Thirty seconds is usually enough time to soften the chips so that they can be stirred to completely melt. If you need more time, proceed in 10-second increments.

  1. Spoon the melted chocolate chip mixture into a small resealable bag. I find this easier to do if I put the bag into a coffee cup or bowl to hold it while I work. Push the mixture down into one corner of the bag. Twist the top to secure and cut a very small opening in the tip of the bag.
  2. Pipe the chocolate in a random pattern on top of the cooled brownies.

🍚 How to Store


Short Term Storage:  Before storing, cool completely to room temperature. This will prevent the brownies from becoming soggy. Store in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Keep at room temperature for up to 4 days. To extend the storage time, refrigerate for up to one week.

Freezer Storage: For longer storage, you can freeze the brownies for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap individual brownies in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place them in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. To defrost, simply leave them out at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

 ⚠️ Recipe Tips


  • Chop the Nuts Finely: If you include nuts, make sure they’re finely chopped. Larger pieces can make it difficult to cut the brownies neatly.
  • Don’t Overmix the Batter: Take care to mix the ingredients just until combined.
  • Line the Pan: Optional–for easier removal of the brownies, line the baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then grease it.
  • Check for Doneness: The recipe suggests baking for 25-30 minutes, but ovens can vary. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the brownies. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, the brownies are done. If it comes out wet, bake for a few more minutes and check again.
  • Cool Completely: Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting them. This will help them set and make them easier to cut.
  • Use a Hot Knife: To get clean cuts, run the knife under hot water, dry it, and then cut the brownies. Repeat as needed.

❓ Questions About Betty Crocker Brownies


Can I substitute butter for the shortening?

Yes, you can substitute the same amount of butter or margarine for the shortening, but keep in mind that this will change the texture and flavor slightly.

Can I leave out the nuts?

Of course, you can leave out the nuts if you prefer. The brownies will still be delicious!

How do I know when the brownies are done?

Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the pan. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, the brownies are done. If it comes out wet, bake for a few more minutes and check again.

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Finished brownies on a white serving plate.

Betty Crocker Brownies

Enjoy a taste of the 1950s with this vintage Betty Crocker Brownies recipe. These densely chocolatey brownies are a trip down memory lane.
5 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16 brownies
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sifted cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ teaspoons butter

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Liberally grease an 8” square pan. Set aside for later.
  • In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening together. Stir constantly until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the sugar and eggs.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Mix in the nuts and vanilla extract.
  • Spread the mixture in the prepared pan using buttered fingers if necessary.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top has a dull appearance.
  • Remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

For the chocolate drizzle:

  • Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a small microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate chips are melted.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate chip mixture into a small resealable bag. Push the mixture down into one corner of the bag. Twist the top to secure and cut a very small opening in the tip of the bag.
  • Pipe the chocolate in a random pattern on top of the cooled brownies.

Notes

  • To test whether the brownies are done, insert a tester into the center of the pan. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, they’re done. If it comes out wet, bake for a few more minutes and check again.
  • For short term storage: Cool completely to room temperature. Store in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Keep at room temperature for up to 4 days. To extend the storage time, refrigerate for up to one week.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the brownies for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap individual brownies in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place them in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. To defrost, simply leave them out at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 193kcal | Carbohydrates 21g | Protein 3g | Fat 12g | Saturated Fat 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat 2g | Monounsaturated Fat 5g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 22mg | Sodium 99mg | Potassium 89mg | Fiber 2g | Sugar 15g | Vitamin A 46IU | Vitamin C 0.04mg | Calcium 21mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on February 26, 2013. It has been updated with additional information.

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32 Comments

  1. Karen Huber says:

    5 stars
    I made these brownies all the time as a young child with my mom, back in the 70’s & 80’s. Now I make them with and for my grandchildren. So good!

  2. Denise Palmer says:

    5 stars
    These brownies are very easy to make. I always get wonderful comments regarding how good they are!

  3. Candee Bradbury says:

    I think I may have located my mother’s brownie recipe after years of searching!!!!!! I cannot explain how much this means to me. She was a fabulous cook, and she made untold pans of these brownies. I was usually given the task of stirring the shortening and baking chocolate while they melted in a small iron skillet – my mother did not “do” double boilers. I miss her so, and if this is her recipe (we’ll find out tonight when I get home from work!!!) I will be over the moon happy. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing.

    On a serious note – get your family recipes from your family members. I’m making a recipe booklet for my kids so that they don’t have this particular hole in their heart after I’m gone.

  4. What a great, fun, yummy post, Lana. I love those kind of cookbooks. A few years ago, my husband got pretty hooked on eBay. We decided he needed to stop because it really became a lot more of him just wanting to beat someone else out of the thing. I’m dying to know how much you got this book for. ;) I just might have to try this “old” recipe to compare it to my favorite fudgy brownies.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I know what you mean about eBay. I actually have two vintage cookbooks on their way to me right now ;-) I bet you’d like these brownies, Katrina! They’re a little different with their dense, very chewy texture, but so delicious!

  5. Oliver Denton says:

    I thought they were called that because it represents how many you would need to eat before you were sick of them!

  6. Yay for fun finds and then to add a yummy recipe just makes this whole post that much sweeter :) Thanks for sharing, Lana! xo

    1. Kelly – I do really enjoy finding great old recipes like these. I think we sometimes forget that things don’t always have to be the ‘latest and greatest’ to be enjoyable.

  7. how cool is THAT find! I love it!! my family LOVES brownies, we’ll have to give this one a try soon.

    1. These brownies are really great, Cheryl. And they’re even better the next day after baking. I’m going to be trying lots of the other recipes in this pretty little booklet. Hope they all turn out as well as the brownies!

  8. I was wondering, could you use bitter dark chocolate (like a bitter dark lindt chocolate bar) in stead of the baking chocolate? I have some I’d like to use up but I wasn’t sure if it would be ok to exchange. Thanks!

    1. Probably. But I haven’t tried that so I can’t say for sure. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

  9. Nancy@acommunaltable says:

    I love that you are featuring “retro” recipes Lana – and like you I love perusing old cookbooks!! Cake flour and shortening… oh yeah, those are definitely killer brownies…. hiding recipe from my family otherwise I won’t get out of the kitchen today!!

  10. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife says:

    what a great book! (and brownie recipe)!

  11. What a great recipe!!! I love that book, and now I want one! ;)

    1. You’d probably enjoy this book, Amanda. It has about 20-25 cake recipes plus lots of other things. Wish I could share it!

  12. These look WONDERFUL!! ‘Course mine would never turn out that neatly done, but I am going to try them.
    Neena

    1. Mama – these are some of the best brownies I’ve ever made. I especially like that they’re really dense and chewy – nothing cakey about them. They’re actually slightly softer and even better the second day.

  13. well, as you know I adore old recipes – I think they out-beat these new-fangled ones any day… this is for sure a keeper…

    1. I love the old recipes too, Drick, and I try to take every opportunity to keep them alive and introduce them to younger cooks. And you’re right – this one is definitely a keeper!

  14. I love these! Craving them now!

    1. Well then, you’ll just have to make a batch for your hubby and that adorable baby! I know they’d enjoy them.

  15. Finding old publication like that is so much fun. And if you’re ever looking for an antiquing buddy, give me a holler!

    These sound delish! I can just imagine my grandmothers using this recipe for us when we were little.

    1. I do love my little antiquing trips, Amy! We have some great places around us and it’s so much fun to spend an afternoon poking around and finding “treasures.” If you were just a little closer, we’d definitely get together for a shopping spree!

    2. I own a “junk” store downtown. I have people coming in “antiquing” all of the time it seems. I also love to go out and look around when I can, which isn’t much any more. Maybe someday.

  16. I had a booklet just like that listed on eBay the last year or so. I LOVE old recipes, the older the better. Pioneer type ones are wonderful. I have these kinds of booklets and recipe books for listing all the time. :D Nothing better than the old time recipes. I have to try this recipe too. It looks great. Have you got Aunt Bea’s recipe books? They are wonderful. There is always some listed on eBay it seems like. The one recipe that I keep going back too in those books is a brownie recipe. They are one of the best I’ve ever made. The old chuck wagon recipes are pretty neat too. :)

    1. I love old recipes, too, Judy! I’ve seen the Aunt Bea’s cookbooks, but don’t have them. Now you’ve given me something new I need to look for on eBay!

      1. Always something to find on eBay. Maybe I’ll run into you there. :)

  17. Hot diggity dog! That’s right up my alley. Just need a glass of cold milk and I will be all set for a night of chocolate delight.

    Miss P

    ps – I know exactly how old you were in 1957.

    1. I know you do! Let’s just keep that between us, okay :-)