If you want to convince your family that cast iron cooking makes everything taste better, all you need to do is bake this dish: brownies!
Pans needed: One large-sized bowl for wet ingredients; one medium-sized bowl to mix dry ingredients. A silicone or rubber spatula for the wet ingredients, and a whisk for the dry ingredients. Two separate bowls (or cast iron skillets) to butter and chocolate. One lare 10-inch to 12-inch cast iron skillet to bake the brownies. This pan will need to be kept separate and greased with butter or shortening, to prevent the brownies from sticking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of butter. As the hot butter is cooling, melt 6 ounces of chocolate, to the point where the chocolate can be stirred. The chocolate doesn't have to be liquid, it can be in a semi-solid state. Leave 2 ounces aside to top the brownies before baking.
Lightly grease an 8x12-inch baking pan (or a 10-inch to 12-inch cast iron skillet) with butter or cooking oil spray.
Combine melted butter, oil and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisking the dry ingredients is important, so they will blend in with the wet ingredients and not be lumpy. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT over beat as doing so well affect the texture of your brownies). Fold in the melted, softened chocolate. If you're using chopped nuts in the brownies, mix them in.
Using the spatula, spread the batter into the prepared cast iron skillet, smoothing the top out evenly. If you're not satisfied and want a true chocolate overload, top the batter in the pan with still more chocolate pieces or chocolate chips. Leave them on top, don't stir them in.
Let a young child lick the bowl and the rubber spatula. This is important.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes. The rule of thumb to follow is "Whey they smell like they're done, then they're done." Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. (If you like brownies more gooey, bake for about 25 minutes.)
Now comes the hard part: Let the brownies sit in the skillet until cool, to finish baking the underside of the brownie and allow it to settle. If the brownies are removed from the pan too soon, they will crumble. They must rest in the pan for about an hour to properly solidify, yet still be soft.
Add color and flavor to these brownies to make them into red velvet.
Mix into wet ingredients:
Mix 2 teaspoons red food coloring into the batter, before adding it to the pan.
A topping for your brownies that will knock them out of the ballpark!
In a medium bowl, mix butter and peanut butter until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread on top of your brownies before serving.