Friday, July 16, 2010

Good-karma brownies

Mmm, brownies

It's been an exceptionally lousy week, one of those times when I truly need to get to the weekend, and fast, but it's only the beginning of the work week, and I just need to stay home and be hugged and eat ice cream. But I can't do anything about that, really, just soldier on until the weekend. Something I can do, though, is try to make something good out of a crappy week, pay some good karma forward. So when I saw that some people I know online had just been scammed out of hundreds of dollars, I asked for their addresses and resolved to send them something to cheer them up a bit.

But what would I send? Well, why not baked goodies? Everyone likes goodies. And why not brownies? Almost everyone likes brownies.

I've been a bit unsatisfied with my usual brownie recipe, though. I like it fine, but a lot of other people find it a bit ho-hum, maybe 'cause it's not the kind of brownie they're used to. So I went looking for something that's more of a crowd-pleaser, more like ones from a boxed mix, perhaps, 'cause everyone likes that kind, except mine would be homemade and way better.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I think the usual categories of brownies are useless. "Cakey" brownies aren't light like cake, "fudgy" brownies aren't hard enough to be fudge-like, and "chewy" brownies, well, usually the only chewy part is on the very edges.

So I'm not going to bother with those categories. What I will say is that these create a softer brownie, the kind where when you bite into it, it just sorta melts into super-chocolatey awesomeness, whereas my old recipe was more of a dense brownie, something you could bite into and chew on. Also, these earned an immediate reaction of "you have got to make more of these, lots of these, only these from now on" from those who were iffy on my old recipe (which I'll probably still pull out sometimes, 'cause darnit, I liked them). Perfect, I'd say, for ensuring good karma once you give these away (if you can part with them, that is).

Good-Karma Brownies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
10 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c plus 2 tbsp cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
2/3 c mix-ins, optional (chocolate chips or walnuts would be good)

1. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper (otherwise, it'll be a total pain getting these out of the pan). Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a good-sized bowl in the microwave.
3. Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add the vanilla. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then, stir in the flour until combined.
4. Fold in your mix-ins, if using (I used chocolate chips, 'cause that's what I had in the house).
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist. (It took more like 35 minutes for me.) Let cool on a rack.

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