My beloved moss is back! As you can see from the photograph, the rain came and the moss returned; I'm just giddy over it. I experienced a surge of photography passion this morning as I looked for anything and everything to photograph against the luscious green carpet. The first thing I grabbed was the lone brownie left from yesterday's birthday celebration.
Yesterday was my firstborn's tenth birthday. I can't believe he's been in my life for a DECADE. To be exact, a decade plus nine months (pregnancy absolutely counts in this tally). He is my chocolate boy. When he was 3 years old, he fell head-over-heels for the flavor Bittersweet Chocolate at an ice cream shop in Inverness. We haven't been able to find the flavor since, and he still talks about it to this day.
Not surprisingly, his favorite dessert is homemade brownies. This recipe is to-die-for, and quite easy—even non-bakers like myself can succeed. The brownie in the photo might look deceptively ordinary, but be warned: these little squares are taste-bud-blowing. A special thank you to Joceline F. who introduced me to this recipe. Bon Appétit!
BROWNIES FROM SCRATCH
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and heat in the microwave. Stir every minute or so, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the microwave and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
4. Bake about 30 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center emerges slightly moist with batter. Let cool. To get them to cut with clean lines, put them in the freezer or fridge for awhile before cutting. Lift up the ends of the parchment and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
I don't have an 8 x 8 baking pan, so I used my rectangular Pyrex baking dish and 1.5x the recipe. This worked great—the more brownies from scratch in the world, the better!