Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adios old oven (a best brownie farewell)

I'm going to miss baking in the coming months (though not necessarily in our old, not particularly even oven). At least it's summer. A good season to give the oven a break. I won't miss the way the oven ratchets up the temperature from mildly warm to furnace-like.

For my farewell, I chose my old standby, the best brownie recipe. This recipe is quick and easy enough to whip up when your children have friends over. Everyone raves about it, and you'll feel like a rockstar mom. It requires few ingredients or tools (which is all good because my kitchen is almost completely packed up).

Best brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat*, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

*Very important step! The first time I made these, I somehow missed this step and ended up with little swirls of cooked egg in the batter. It looked like sludgy egg drop soup. I always stir in sugar first and mix it well before adding the eggs, just to avoid the cooked egg catastrophe. Also, just go ahead and crack the eggs directly into the pot. No need to dirty another bowl. The allrecipes link has a frosting recipe for the brownies, but I've never made it. The brownies are delicious all on their own.


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