And Brownies, too…

Here’s another quick to bake treat.  Pancakes are great, but brownies – now that’s comfort food.  If you are still baking brownies from a mix, you owe it to yourself and those around you to try this simple recipe.  Not mine originally, but from the Hershey’s Cocoa website, I have made it my own by tweaking just a bit.

Easy, oh yeah!  Delicious?  Prepare yourself to be won over.  Everyone who has had these brownies now call them ‘Mary’s Brownies’.  I am not sure, but believe that brownies may well be the most versatile dessert that you can put together in 5 minutes.  Yep, 5 minutes.  Cue up your copy of  ‘Chocolat’ and by the time the previews are over the brownies will be in the oven.  By the time Johnny and Juliette are floating out on the lake, the brownies will be cool enough to cut and enjoy.

One of my fondest memories of these brownies is when my son called me from a friend’s home to have me email him the recipe so that he and his buddies could whip up a batch.  The recipe is now made by his entire circle of friends.  And lots of my friends and class participants.

A single recipe bakes up perfectly in a metal, 8″ square pan.  Double the recipe and bake it in a 10″ square.  Not everyone has a 10″ square pan, so you can also bake a double recipe in a 9×13″ pan. (The brownies will be just slightly thinner as there are 17 more square inches in a 9×13″ pan.)   If you quadruple the recipe, bake the brownies in a half sheet pan, (aka jelly roll pan) or approximately 12×17″.  I routinely make a quad batch for big events like an open house or otherwise large party.  Leftover brownies freeze well, but be sure to get them in the freezer ASAP, and wrap them well.

Brownies can be cut into sqares, diamonds, triangles and even circles for beautifully plated desserts.  Pour a bit of warm ganache on a plate, add a brownie, fresh berries and whipped cream and you will wow every chocolate lover you know.  Exchange the ganache for caramel and add toasted pecans.  A bit of instant coffee powder whipped into your whipped cream makes a simple, sophisticated dessert with a chocolate covered espresso bean for garnish.  The list goes on.

Make these brownies once and you’ll make them again.  Make them 4 or 5 times and you’ll have the recipe committed to memory and that will make the process go really quickly. 

Mary’s Brownies

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

Butter and line a metal, 8″ baking pan with parchment paper.  I have been told that a simple spray of Pam will suffice, but I take the extra step of the parchment.  I cut the parchment so that it fits perfectly on two sides of the pan, and hangs over the other two edges.  This way, I can lift the brownies out of the pan while they are still slightly warm and cut into perfect little squares.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. 

Blend the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Blend in the dry mixture until just incorporated, then stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for exactly 30 minutes.  Cool until almost room temperature before cutting into pieces.  Depending on you level of chocolate addiction, this pan of brownies will make between 1 and 64 servings.

For the double and quad batches, bake 5 minutes longer.  Use a baking time of 30 minutes if you are using a 9×13″ pan.

Enjoy!

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