It is well documented that I am not above using a boxed baking mix, particularly those of the chocolate variety. But just because something doesn’t require any culinary creativity, that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with tweaks.
Some folks relieve stress by baking sourdough bread or elaborate layer cakes; good for them. When I’m sad and stressed, I need the shortest, hardest-to-mess-up path to a lot of chocolate I can find. For me, that path always leads to cocoa brownies.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to brownies, I tend to favour the box mixes, mainly because I haven’t found a homemade recipe that gives you that gorgeous, crackly, shiny crust. King Arthur Flour has cracked the shiny code however, and the secret is chocolate chips.