School lunches probably don’t produce many memories of stunning culinary experiences, but there are a few sparking gems from the typical 80’s and 90’s ish school cafeteria menus, and those little squares of soft fudge-topped brownies in my plastic segmented lunch tray are certainly one of them.
Now commonly known as Lunch Lady Brownies, this is a very simple recipe with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. I imagine when being mass-produced to distribute to hundreds of students per day, simple would be the way to go. In the case of these brownies, simple is definitely better, as they really don’t need anything fancy to create such an indulgent treat.
There are no leavening agents, such as baking powder, used in this recipe, resulting in a rich, dense, fudgy brownie. The decadent frosting is spread while they are still warm, allowing them to seep into the brownies a bit and increase the softness of each one.
Though the lunch ladies in our school cafeterias likely produced giant batches of these brownies on any given day, I’ve scaled down this recipe for a small 8×8 square pan sliced into 9 good-sized brownies. If you want to make a larger batch, this recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Enjoy!
|Lunch Lady Brownies | School Cafeteria Recipe|| |
- ½ cup butter, melted but not hot.
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 TBS butter, softened
- 3 TBS evaporated milk (you can use regular milk)
- 2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8x8 square light metal baking dish by lining with foil or parchment paper, leaving enough of the material to come up over the lip of the pan. This will help with lifting the brownies out later.
- In a medium-sized bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and the sugar for at least 5 minutes until fully combined and lighter in color. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated and batter is smooth.
- Add the cocoa powder and flour and mix on low speed until no streaks remain. Transfer batter to prepared dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Be careful not to overbake - being slightly underbaked is preferable so that the texture stays soft and fudgy.
- Remove the brownies and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the frosting ingredients. If frosting is too thick, add extra milk 1 tsp at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition, until desired texture is achieved.
- Spread frosting over brownies while they are still warm. Allow to cool to room temperature, and then use the lip of foil or parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan, slice, and serve.
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Do you want to try more of my brownie recipes? Look at these!