YOU MAY HAVE deduced from previous articles that I do have a bit of a weakness for and an addiction to chocolate. Chocolate mousse, chocolate raspberry truffle tarts, chocolate dipped strawberries and don’t forget Dark Secrets chocolate desserts. It’s not too difficult to figure out that I have had a long-standing love affair with all things chocolate.
After reading the most recent edition of Sophisticated Woman’s “Northshore’s Best for 2016,” I was inspired to share my list of best and favorite brownies that I have collected and thoroughly tested over the years on family, foodie friends and myself.
I have never been particularly fond of cakes, pies and other desserts. However, give me a perfectly baked cookie or a rich, dense, chewy brownie with a delicate crust, and I lose all sense of judgment and control. I look for any excuse to make a batch of brownies. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, so let’s make brownies. Rainy and overcast? Brownies! Is it your birthday, anniversary, special occasion? Brownies!
How do you like your brownies? Fudgy, cakey, gooey, chewy, dense or light? Do you like your brownies frosted, plain or with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top? Most purists prefer simple, straightforward, honest brownies without nuts or other spices. Maybe you just like licking the bowl and eating the raw batter better than a warm brownie just out of the oven. Do you like the crispy edge brownies or the ones from the middle of the pan that are soft and sometimes caving in?
Depending on my mood, I may add a little cinnamon and/or coffee to balance the sweetness if I use brown sugar and semisweet chocolate. I also like nuts, such as pecans and walnuts, to add texture and heighten flavors.
Before you choose a recipe, stop and think about the flavor, consistency and texture that you personally love and most desire, so you can choose the ingredients accordingly to get the result that you are trying to achieve. I personally love the richness and chocolate goodness that cocoa brings to a brownie. If you ever had any reservations about cocoa powder brownies, they will be resolved after you make the “Best Cocoa Brownies.” Cocoa brownies have the softest center and chewiest candy like top “crust.” Check out my recipe, and fall in love with these tasty treats.
These brownies are five to six bites each. They’re incredibly fudgy in the middle and chewy on the edges. The suspended walnuts add a welcome contrast in texture and heighten the nuttiness of the brown butter.
Maybe you already have a family recipe for brownies that you use for gift giving and baking on special and even not so special occasions.
You definitely need all of these brownies in your life. Try them out one at a time, choose your favorite and send me your treasured brownie recipe for us to share with our foodie friends. Time to turn on the oven and assemble the ingredients. All of this talk about brownies has peaked my craving for some chocolately, homemade treats. I am off to the kitchen. See you there. Maybe next time, if you are lucky, I will share my almond chocolate sauce recipe with you!
For more of Jan’s mouthwatering brownie recipes, visit sophisticatedwoman.com/foodies-friends.
Moosewood Fudge Brownies
I have not yet realized my dream of traveling to Ithaca, New York, to visit the original Moosewood Restaurant. I have a picture of it in my mind as the original hippie joint. Our two Moosewood vegetarian cookbooks have completely fallen apart from constant use and too much love.
These brownies are guaranteed to deliver your brownie fix for the brown sugar, chocolate and cinnamon flavor combination.
½ pound butter, 2 sticks, let them soften or place in the microwave for 10 seconds, DO NOT MELT
Melt 5 ounces chocolate chips
Cream the butter with 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and 5 eggs. Use a hand held mixer or a kitchen aid mixer and beat on high speed until creamy and forms a ribbon
Add ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ tablespoon cinnamon
Beat in the melted cooled chocolate and 1 cup flour. Spread into a buttered 9×13 baking pan. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 F.
Cool before cutting. I put them in the fridge and let them get cold so they are easier to cut. These brownies are soft and a little gooey.
Optional: can add chopped nuts or 1 tablespoon instant coffee.