Monday, February 8, 2010

Brownies: my daughter's perfect recipe.

Calla lilly spent roughly a quarter second on line and found this brownie recipe, which she promptly lost, after baking it to general acclaim. Thank goodness I made her write it down on a post-it note, using my motherly privilege. Everyone whose eaten these has gotten that silly, goofy almost embarassing grin on their faces. Even mentioning past memories of these brownies brings back that inmistatable look of joy contemplated in peace. Enjoy.

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Line a 9X9 baking pan with one large piece of aluminum foil. If the sides of the pan are exposed, line with another piece of foil in the different direction. Parchment paper can be used as well. Some people like to butter the aluminum foil at this stage, but I forgot to mention it to Calla lily, and they still turned out.

Optional ingredients:
If you're using nuts (1/2 cup walnuts or pecans,) toast them now. I toast my nuts in a copper pan on pretty high heat, shaking all the time. I stop toasting when the nuts start smelling wonderful, and let them cool prior to making the rest of the recipe.

Required Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat eggs, vanilla, and sugar (using a balloon whisk or a egg beater) until frothy and lemony. Now that I am a proud owner of a lovely orange Kitchenaid, I throw everything in there and wander over to check until the color of the liquid is a lovely lemon-yellow and there is some eggy-looking froth on top.

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
Melt butter gently, you don't want it too hot. I generally try to leave a few small pieces of unmelted butter in the butter mixture when I take it out of the microwave, the heat from the rest of the butter will melt them. (Yes, my microwave is basically a complex butter-melting device.)

1/2 cup very high quality cocoa powder
Add cocoa powder to the melted butter-this may take some mixing.
Let cool.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking poweder
pinch of salt
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl. I prefer using a fork. Actually, I prefer a really awesome whisk-like thingie with stainless-steel balls on the end of the flat whisk wires--but this device only seem to exist in my kitchen; I seem to recall buying it at Williams-Sonoma for a song at some point in the last century.

Add the previously prepared 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, if desired to the flour mixture. Rumor has it one can used untoasted nuts with good results.

Add the cooled (but still liquid) butter/cocoa to the sugar and egg mixture, stirring until combined. If the butter is too hot at this step the eggs can curdle. If you have to use hot butter, then stir a tablespoon of two of the hot butter mixture into the sugar egg mixture to temper it, before adding, slowly, (beating all the while) the rest of the butter.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the sugar/butter/cocoa mixture until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. DOn't over-mix.

Put into the prepared pan.

Bake on center rack of oven (heated to 350 degrees) from 25-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center shouldn't be liquid or dry, but should have a couple moist crumbs hanging off. I'll try to remember to take a picture of this (or more likely, have someone who doesn't entirely specialize in thumb pictures snap the photo) because the wonderfulness of the brownies are rather disturbingly dependent on the baking length.

Cool on a rack. If you don't have a rack, improvise.

Good eating.

I must mention here how much I love cooking; it's been difficult for me to actually cook for quite a while, but I have offspring! And I can order them around (within limits). I tell them they're "cooking lessons."

Hoping for more cooking recipes (from me!) soon.

My next will be (i hope) my magical way to get the easiest and flakiest corn bread and muffins. It's awesome and very very easy. Feel free to pester me if the recipe isn't forthcoming. My health is iffy, but when I feel good, I want to share-friends, even if on-line count as friends.


Allie said...


Unknown said...

hmmm I have been wanting brownies..will give this recipe a try this coming weekend. If you don't hear from me by mid next week send in a rescue team with milk!

kerfuffler said...

I will have to try toasting the nuts first, but then they might get eaten before I make the brownies.

djinn said...

But, K., you'll still have the pleasure of toasted nuts. I have a copper frying pan that I use to toast nuts (and spices!), as it gets very very hot. I dump the nuts (or spices0 in, and then shake the pan over the burner until the ingredients release that wonderful odor. You'll recognize it when you smell it.

Unknown said...

Love this recipe - toasted pecans, switched out melted chocolate for cocoa powder,added extra tbs flour and served with creme fresh and torn mint leaves..oh, and had the pleasure of licking the bowl!! Thanks for the share :)!

djinn said...

Your recipe sounds wonderful Simone, mmmmm. Chocolate. Mmmm. A bit of extra flour is exactly what's needed if you swap out the cocoa for chocolate, or you can short the butter a bit, but who in their right mind would do that?