I get to use an oven!
I’m home from Howard Mesa, at least for a while. Although our camper (where I was living at HM) doesn’t have an oven, my house does. And today, with a craving for something chocolate, I’m making brownies.
Unlike other people, I usually bake from scratch. That means I measure out all the ingredients, mix them the way they need to be mixed, and pop them in the oven to do their thing.
Today, I made brownies based on the instructions on the Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate Squares package. I say “based on” because I’ve modified it for my own tastes. Here’s my version.
4 squares Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate. Now if each square is 1 ounce, that’s 4 ounces. So if you don’t use Baker’s brand, you can figure out how many squares it is for your brand. I’ve successfully made this recipe with semi-sweet chocolate from Trader Joe’s — you know, the kind in the big bar. If you do that, just cut back on the amount of sugar you add.
3/4 cup (or 1-1/2 sticks) of butter or margarine. I used a stick of butter and a half stick of margarine.
1 cup sugar. The recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, but I think that’s too darn much. Last time I made it with 1-1/2 cups and it was still too sweet for me. So I cut it back to a cup this time around. (Note: After tasting these, I decided that a cup wasn’t enough, even with the chocolate chips. Next time I’ll try 1-1/4 cups.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Yes, I mean chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts, but I don’t like nuts in my brownies, so I never put them in. I added the chocolate this time to make up for the reduced amount of sugar.
The recipe is really easy and only takes one bowl and one spoon. Since the baking pan is foil covered, cleanup is very easy.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for a glass pan).
2. Line a baking dish with foil. The recipe calls for a 13 x 9 inch pan, but since I don’t have one, I used a 10 x 7 inch pan. Grease the foil. I use spray oil because it’s easier.
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in a large microwaveable bowl. 2 minutes should do it. When it’s melted, stir it until it’s well blended.
4. Add the sugar and stir until blended.
5. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until blended.
6. Add the flour and stir until blended.
7. Add the chips (or nuts or both) and stir until blended.
8. Spread the chocolate batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake until done. I figure about 40 minutes, but you want to keep an eye on it after 30 minutes. Overbaked brownies suck. You can use a toothpick or knife inserted into the center to check for doneness; it should have fudgy crumbs when it’s done.
10. Cool in pan.
11. Lift out of pan onto a cutting board. Cut into squares or whatever shape your heart desires. (I’m doing triangles this time.)
I find that some of the best recipes are the ones that come on the packaging for an ingredient. I once found an excellent recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on a chocolate chip package; that’s my favorite type of cookie.
And no, I don’t make recipes off Cool-Whip packages or cakes with pudding in them.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think.
In the meantime, I’m going to put a glass of milk in the freezer so it’ll be all ready when my brownies emerge from the oven.