Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chocolate Brownies, I Missed My Teflon

Chocolate Brownies

Well, I have a migraine today. I've gotten them since I was around 9, and they can be doozies. Took some Imitrex which, fortunately, works pretty well. Even though I am overwhelmingly nauseated when the migraines are at their worst, I always get a craving for chocolate. Unlike most Americans, I am not a huge chocolate lover (I prefer vanilla). My husband is a die hard chocoholic. I have gone on chocolate runs for him. He gets a little crazed around it. It actually can be a little frightening.


But I digress. Anyhow, when I get migraines, I crave chocolate intensely. So I invariably end up making a batch of homemade chocolate brownies. The original batch that I made many years ago came from my beloved Fannie Farmer Cookbook (aka The Best Cookbook Ever Written). You should have seen me when Collin borrowed it (he's a little fascinated with cookbooks, he even had a subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine for a year but then decided that there was entirely too much cutting and chopping involved in cooking for it to EVER be safe) and lost it. I was a maniac searching for that book. But again, digression is occuring. I suppose that blogging while under the influence of Imitrex and Benedryl has it's consequences.

So, at this very moment, I have a batch of brownies going. I always make a double batch; these don't last long around my chocolate crazed man, not to mention my sugarholic son.

You'll need:

8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
1 stick of butter
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 cup of brown sugar *
2 cups of regular sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
5 eggs
pecans or walnuts if you like #

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put the chocolate and butter into a bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir the mixture to incorporate chocolate and butter. If the chocolate isn't completely melted, put it back into the microwave in 15 - 20 second intervals, stirring in between. ^

2. Add the vanilla and stir well.

3. Add sugar, mix, add flour, mix.

4. Add the eggs and spend a bit of time making sure that they are evenly incorporated into the mixture. %

5. Add nuts or other mix-ins if desired.

6. Pour all of this into a large baking dish that has been buttered within an inch of it's life and floured. You will never get them out of the pan if you skip this step.

7. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with little crumbs stuck to it.

It's easier to cut these if you let them cool for half an hour, but I would recommend running a knife around the edges of the brownies to facilitate their removal from the pan. If course, if you must have hot brownies, cut at will, just expect them to fall apart.

* You can use 3 cups of granulated sugar, I just like the taste that the brown sugar gives to the brownies.

# Other things you can add include crushed Oreos, M&M's (the mini's are great) on the top, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (quite rich), or whatever strikes your fancy. Oh, and I prefer pecans to walnuts, but this is a matter of personal preference.

^ You can always melt the chocolate in a double boiler, but this method is a lot quicker, and if you check your chocolate frequently it shouldn't burn.

% I don't add the eggs until now because after you have added the sugar and flour, the chocolate has cooled sufficiently so that the eggs will not cook when you add them. If you melt the chocolate in a double boiler, you can add the eggs to the sugar and flour, stir well, then add the chocolate, butter, vanilla mixture.

The edges got a little burnt, but don't you just dig the Lazy Daisy dishes? My mom was going to sell them in a yard sale and I snatched them up. I grew up eating on these dishes; you can't blame me for being a little sentimental.


I Missed My Teflon

I made Mongolian Beef last night for dinner in an effort to further my Americanized Chinese cooking skills. It came out really well, used the PF Chang's Mongolian Beef recipe that is widely published on the web. Anyhow, the combination of brown sugar, oil, corn starch, and more oil created a cement that took a huge amount of elbow grease and a slight amount of creativity to remove from the iron fryer. I scraped with a spatula to remove the lion's share of the stuck on yumminess, but there was still quite a bit of scrubbing that I had to do. I hated to do it, but I had a brillo pad from Lord knows when; it did nothing while at the same time creating the not so pleasant sensation of millions of steel shards lodging into my fingers. I would never have resorted to such measures for a lesser pan. In the end I had to fill up the pan about half-way with water, heat it to boiling, let it sit for a bit, and use a Dobie sponge and (gasp!) dishwashing detergent. I missed my carcinogenic Teflon. I'm just hoping that my husband never figures out that my old spaghetti pot/collander combo is made of aluminum! Our little secret, 'kay?

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