For as long as I’ve had my own kitchen, I’ve been making scratch brownies out of the 1971 BETTY CROCKER COOKBOOK. People say things like this, “That’s the best brownie I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.” And you know why? It’s not because I’m the best brownie baker or Betty’s the top of the recipe developers, it’s because most folks are used to boxed mix brownies made with cocoa instead of luscious whole bars of melted chocolate. You know, brownies are nothing but fudge on steroids. Think of them as fudge with flour… and eggs… … and sometimes a little leavening. But unless you make scratch brownies, you don’t know that.Continue reading
To say that I’m well-fed is a nice way of putting things and is somewhat of an embarrassment. Dave insists I’m simply…well…maybe we needn’t go into it. Suffice it to say he doesn’t complain. (I love that man.)
At fifteen minutes beforehand, I may decide on another dish to serve and begin it. “Oh, I have lemons, limes and oranges (and leftover wine), I can make sangria!” There are two small pieces of cheese left and a big hunk of goat’s cheese, let’s make a cheese spread.” And so on. Or, “Vacuum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” If you have dogs like retrievers or Great Pyrenees (see Rocket below), you can’t clean the sofas or vacuum until five minutes before anyone comes. You’d like them to taste the food, not the fur. Putht, Putht (sound of your guests trying to get hair out of their mouths.)
You try and remember to say “Beige or jeans only,” but you forget after awhile and, truly, people like to choose their own party attire.
He also has views like this —
Photos courtesy R. Saunders.
While we enjoyed all of the food (brisket is another blog), the highlight seemed to be the brownies. Now, Mary Pat, despite my urging, refused to choose her birthday dessert. When that happens, I don’t know what to do! Chocolate is my answer, but I did end of up making three bars (see leftovers below) so folks had a choice. Not everyone likes chocolate (hard to believe, but true).
They do not keep well; store them tightly wrapped in the frig for a day or so and, still, they will just be incredibly better on the day you made them. Do not make ahead; do not freeze. Give away instead. Did I say that? These are VERY fast to make; they are all you ever wanted of chocolate, loved ones. A one-bowl wonder.
Make the time.
Brownie Pie a la Mary Pat
12 smallish servings, 8 for real big chocolate fans
frosting: see separate recipe below
Spray with PAM a 9-10 quiche/tart/pie pan (I like the 9.5×2” Corningware quiche dish) and set aside.
In small skillet ( remember this is optional), toast nuts, over medium heat, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Set aside.
In large covered * glass bowl or measuring cup, melt in microwave (take out and stir halfway through/repeat for extra 10 seconds as needed) for 1-2 minutes. I do this on HIGH, but sometimes use my cool microwave setting for melting chocolate, which takes longer.
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
10 2/3T unsalted butter
Set aside to cool for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure chocolate is well-melted and incorporated into butter. To this mixture, add and stir well:
2 c granulated sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 ¼ c unbleached white flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c chopped, toasted (if desired) walnuts or pecans
Spread a decent layer—half-way up the sides- in the brownie pie pan. You’ll have some batter left that you can bake in another small, sprayed dish. I use a baby loaf pan. (Your secret stash.) Wash the glass container you mixed this in; you’ll need it for the frosting.
Bake them about 25 minutes. They are done not when a toothpick comes out clean—forget that—but when they are almost solid in the middle and the brownies are drawing away from the sides of the pan. Underdone is better than overdone. Who wants burned chocolate. I know, I know, you like crusty brownies, don’t you. Well, then go ahead and ruin your little batch. Leave the rest barely done.
Cool the pans on a rack. When cool, make the frosting. Now, this is a bit of a stuff to do, but, trust me, it’s worth every minute.
Brownie Pie Frosting(take off of “Glossy Chocolate Frosting” from B. C.)
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 c powdered sugar
¼ t salt
1/3 c milk
1 t vanilla
In large glass measuring cup or bowl, melt chocolate with butter in microwave. You do not need a double boiler. God has been very good here. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Ok, taste it. Place this bowl over a larger pan 1/3 full of water with lots of ice. Beat the frosting with a whisk until it’s thickened. Spread thickened mixture on the brownie pie and your little stash pan, too. Lick bowl well. (Do this when no one else is home so you needn’t share. After all, they get to eat the brownies later.) Let pie sit with frosting for at least 15 minutes (if you can wait). Cut into 8-12 servings depending on number of guests and hunger.
Here’s lookin‘ at you, kid—-