Snowpocalypse

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If I was to believe what I was hearing on every news outlet (and alerts on my phone) I would have thought today was really the end of the world as I know it.  When you live in Rowe it snows pretty much every. single. day. so I was at least expecting 5 or 6 inches on the ground when I woke up this morning.  Nope, maybe 3 with it blowing all around.

The hype did get me into gear in the baking arena though and I made a huge pan of my favorite chocolate comfort food.  I found the recipe for these brownies almost 7 years ago in Yankee Magazine.  Julies’s Brownies is my go to brownie for a crowd or just for days when chocolate is the only thing that will do.

I am NOT a brownie baker – my kids will attest to that.  I have made so many variations of brownies over the years – all of which were dismal failures. This recipe, followed to the letter is a winner and the best you will ever have.  It makes a huge pan of brownies and I often put nuts on half and leave the other plain (for those walnut haters).  I then cut them up and freeze half.  There are always brownies available and they freeze perfectly.  I’ve linked the recipe but here it is as well.  They are that good.

Julie’s Brownies

Total Time: 35

Yield: about 40 pieces

Sometimes you just need chocolate to get things on an even keel. My dear friend Julie Fox makes these killer (and easy-to-do) brownies. They taste even better if someone makes them for you, so consider baking them for someone you love.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 4 tablespoons plus 3-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12×17-inch jelly-roll pan and dust with 4 tablespoons sugar. Discard any sugar that doesn’t adhere to pan. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 3 sticks butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until both have melted. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat eggs with 3-1/2 cups sugar until blended but not “frothy.” Stir in vanilla, then chocolate. Add flour, stirring until just combined. Fold in nuts if you like

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 35 minutes, or until set. (A wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out almost clean.) Let cool completely before cutting.

So make yourself a batch – whether it’s storming out or sunny.  You know why?  They make the world’s best breakfast.

150127 Brownies (2)

 

Food Friday – Brownies

One of my absolute favorite things to do is cook for other people – especially baking goodies.  There are times when nothing will do but chocolate.  There is comfort in it, there are lifetime memories associated with it, chocolate is love.

I was asked to bring “brownies or something” to Paul’s celebration of life tomorrow.  I immediately knew the recipe I would use.  For years I had a reputation with my family members (especially my children) that I was the master of disaster when it came to baking brownies.  As the girls got older they would bake brownies often using a mix.  They had no trouble at all.  Me, well let’s just say if it comes out of a box I am completely incompetent.  I would burn them, or they were so undercooked they would be inedible.  I think it was because I followed the directions, messed up and then over compensated on the next try.  Amanda had it down, knocked off a couple of minutes for the particular pan she was using and they always came out perfect.

I took this as a challenge in the back of my mind, one day I would conquer my relationship with brownies.   I read this recipe years ago in Yankee Magazine and it completely changed my outlook on brownies.  It’s called Julie’s Brownies and really is the best recipe ever – deep chocolate, sugar crust, brownie perfection. The only caveat is it makes a HUGE batch.

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The recipe starts off with 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and 3 sticks of butter set on low heat to melt together.  I once made the mistake of using semisweet and although it was a near disaster there were many people who liked their cloying sweetness.  (I wasn’t kidding about my problem with brownies).

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While the chocolate/butter is melting butter your pan and sprinkle it with sugar.  I just dump a mound in the middle of the pan and shake it around until the pan is coated, then dump the excess in the sink.

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This has such a wonderful smell while it’s heating through.  Once melted let it cool to room temperature.

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Now I know not everyone likes walnuts in their brownies (or anywhere for that matter) so I chop about 3/4 of a cup to be sprinkled on half of the pan, this way everyone is happy.  I buy walnuts and pecans in bulk, use a vacu-sealer and freeze a cup and a half per bag.  I always have nuts for that impromptu baking session.  That nut grinder?  If you don’t have one get one, they are awesome and go right into the dishwasher.

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Half a dozen eggs go into the stand mixer.

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Along with 3 1/2 cups of sugar.  You read right, 3 1/2.  I measure carefully knowing this is another potential hazard for me – losing count.

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Once the eggs and sugar are mixed you add the vanilla.  I made this for Christmas presents a couple of years ago – it is amazing.  There’s another disaster story that goes along with this.  One time I was making these brownies, grabbed the orange extract and put in the two teaspoons – aarrgh.  Those were an epic fail.

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The chocolate/butter is added, then the flour and mixed until just combined.

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Then poured into that nice sugar coated pan.  This is a 12 x 17 jelly roll pan.  That’s a lot of brownies my friends.

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Before they go into the oven I sprinkle on the nuts.  These look delicious and smell heavenly while baking.

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And here they are out of the oven, perfect. Once cooled I will cut them into squares and arrange them in a basket to be delivered to the church tomorrow.  Some of the people I love the most will be there and even though they probably won’t  give a thought to who made the brownies I will know how much love was put into them.