Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classic Brownies

Labor Day is over. If kids hadn't started school before last week, they have definitely started by now (although, in NYC, school doesn't officially officially start until tomorrow, since last week was a one-day week due to the Jewish holidays. Seriously - the first day of school and then four days off. Really, NYC? Really?!)

I have a few friends whose kids started kindergarten this year. I'll skip over the part about how old this made me feel, and move right onto what made me feel young again: this week's treat.

You see, I went back to school this year too, to Baker's Kindergarten.

I know it seems a little extreme, going all the way back to Baker's Kindergarten. I consider myself a seasoned baker, afterall.

But what if I told you I had never ever in my life made a batch of brownies from scratch?

"Enroll that girl in Baker's Kindergarten right this minute!" is what you'd say.

So I did. And whadda ya know? The first (and only) assignment was to bake some classic brownies. (Funny, isn't it, how when you imagine your own school the assignments address exactly the skills you are lacking? :-)

And you know what? The brownies were dense and moist and fudgy just like brownies are supposed to be. I've graduated from Baker's Kindergarten! Aren't you proud, Mama B?

This is a simple recipe with dark chocolate cocoa powder and milk chocolate chips - a chocolate combo that works well in our house because it pleases Becky & me (lovers of all things dark chocolate) and Music Man (lover of all things milk chocolate). But this is also a great basic brownie recipe that could be suited to your unique tastes - I'm thinking M&M's next time. Or, since M&M's are soooooo kindergarten, perhaps something more sophisticated, like toffee bits or a cream cheese frosting.

Oh, who am I kidding? I love M&Ms just as much as I did in kindergarten! Perhaps I never graduated after all...  

Dark and Milk Chocolate Brownies
Slightly adapted from Baking Bites
Makes 16 brownies

1/2 cup butter, softened
2-oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

2. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined. Stir in milk chocolate chips, then pour brownie batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs, not batter, attached.

5. Cool in the pan completely. Lift brownies out by foil onto a cutting board and slice into pieces.

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