it is so so so so soooooo easy to make brownies from scratch! I have even made soft brownies in the microwave 🙂
Here is a great brownie recipe if you get up the courage to do it from scratch:
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and pre-heat oven to 350.
Make a foil sling for your baking pan: Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
According to Cook’s Illustrated: For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting. If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them promptly from the pan (otherwise, the superior heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking).
-from Cook’s Illustrated
I would try to melt a quarter cup of choco chips and stir that into the batter. Cakey brownies are a result of over-mixing and too much liquid. You want to reduce the amount of liquid slightly, add a bit more fat (ie: the choco chips) and don’t overbake. Pull the brownies out a minute or two before the recommended time nad just set the pan on top of the warm oven and let it finish up there for five minutes.