Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Last Minute Brownies

It’s always good to have a few recipes that you can pull out at the last second, which you may know by heart, to produce something delicious. Especially when you have just come home from work and your upstairs neighbors have asked you over for pizza and beer in 15 minutes.

Now I’m not saying this recipe can be made from start to finish in 15 minutes, but you can always bring this in batter form upstairs and finish baking it in their oven. This is one of those recipes that is quick, can be made from staples found in most pantries and is pretty gosh darn delicious.
Brownies from scratch are usually pretty impressive – and under normal circumstances do take a little foresight and time. But not these. And these have icing. ICING. And in fact you can substitute and work with whatever you have. Like when you are snowed in at your boyfriend’s brother’s house with some “staples” that are approximately ten years old in the pantry.

Now don’t get me wrong, some boxed brownie mixes are very good and require very little effort. Growing up we made a lot of boxed brownies, and I would like to consider myself a connoisseur. We always had those in the pantry in case my dad invited people over for a meal we had not planned for, or if friends came over and stayed unannounced.
These brownies still get that crispy edge that some people really enjoy. In fact some people enjoy the edges so much there is now an ‘as seen on tv’ insert for your brownie pan which will allow for every brownie to be an edge brownie. This is not something I desire. I never really liked the edges, and when I divulged this to Joe recently he was a little taken aback. I prefer the center brownie in which nearly every bite has the same chew to it as the last. I seem to remember trying to cut a perfect square out of the center of a fresh baked pan of brownies as a child – to the chagrin of my mother. But I have grown up a little and will tolerate an edge brownie as long as it is dense, chewy and above all chocolaty.
The Easiest Scratch Brownies
As adapted by “Angie” on (over 2,900 people love this version by the way)

You can substitute different extracts for vanilla and you can use whole wheat flour for all purpose. Feel free to double or triple this recipe to suit your needs. It makes a thin brownie in an 8”pan with a single batch – so switch pans or increase batches for a thicker brownie. I used the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for these, which is why they are very dark in color.

For the Brownies
½ c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c cocoa powder
½ c flour
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

For the Icing
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 c confectioner’s sugar
A little milk as needed to thin the icing (start with 1 tsp at a time).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8” square baking pan.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, and then remove from heat. Stir in sugar and mix in eggs and vanilla. Then add cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt; stir until just combined.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake for longer if doubling the recipe or using a smaller pan.

While the brownies are baking, prepare icing.

Melt the butter, and mix together with honey, vanilla, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Add in milk if the icing seems a little stiff. When the brownies have mostly cooled spread icing on top. Serve brownies slightly warm.

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