Thursday, April 18, 2013

THE One and Only Brownie

Now let me just start of saying...the reason I call these guys THE brownies would be that in my family, these are the only acceptable ones. This is probably the first recipe I learned to make growing up baking with my mom (it might be tied with our Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe--also flawless haha). I can remember mixing the batter and waiting to see who my mom would let lick the beater and the spoon!

Amy, Caroline and I (the littlest) eating brownie batter. Hehe.
I didn't even really know OTHER brownies until I hit middle school (with bake-sales etc). Boxed brownies were blasphemy in my house.

As I started to bake more, and work in bakeries as an intern I began making their recipes...and still found that I preferred our tried and true version (with the exception of these Bouchon brownies that we made at my last bakery job with Valrhona cocoa powder...nom, those were delicious. Too dark-chocolatey for my mom though!).

These aren't cakey or fluffy. And they aren't fudgey. Anytime I try to explain them, I find it kind of difficult to get it right. So I will just tell you to give them a go, and then you'll understand.

One disclaimer about my momma and I. I'm always wanting to try new things, so here and there I'll try to tweak recipes to spruce them up a bit or change something. My mom ALWAYS tells me to leave the recipe alone. It's a funny little dance we do: mother telling daughter what to do, and daughter obviously not listening. Sometimes the changes work, other times it turns into an "I told you so".

Jeff, Caroline and I with our mom!
Either way, I would not be where I am right now without my mom, and I would definitely not have the love I do for baking without growing up doing so with her and my siblings.

That being said...I added something to our brownies. Shh...she'll never know (except when she reads this of course haha)!

My mom sent me a care-package to Spain right before we left for Spring Break, so when I got back from my travels I had a wonderful box full of snacks you can't get in Spain, Easter candy and necessities that I had left at home (a functioning iPhone cable etc). Well, I was determined NOT to eat the Easter candy because I have trying to be a little bit more healthy (after travelling, eating out every meal...and oh so much bread).
So I was waiting to give most of it to my sister, but then it occurred to me to bake with some of it! My mom sent me Reese's eggs (among many others), so I decided to chop some up and stick them in the brownies! YUMMO.
Don't be mad at me momma! Caroline puts walnuts in hers!

So here we go! THE Brownie that truly began my love for baking:

2 one ounce squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup flour
half a bag of Reese's mini eggs, chopped into quarters (or minis)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your pan. I used a silicon muffin tin because I don't have a proper baking dish in my Spanish apartment, but this recipe uses an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 brownie pan. Whatever you use, be sure to grease it.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and shortening in 30 second intervals (stopping to mix with a spoon or spatula) until the chocolate is melted.

After letting cool for a minute or two, combine the chocolate/shortening with the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl, and mix with a spatula or whisk until combined. Then add the vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix until distributed. Add the flour, and mix until it just comes together (don't overmix or you'll have stiff brownies).

Then fold in the Reese's.

Fill your pan, and bake for about 25 minutes (with the muffin tin a couple minutes less) and check with a toothpick to make sure (if it comes out clean, or with a few crumbs, it's done).

And there ya go. I can literally be having the worst day of my life, and making these brownies will make me feel infinitely better. Just the smell of them in the oven is a comfort that takes me right back to my childhood home. I hope you enjoy them just as much as my family does! :)

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