I have been wanting brownies for a little over a week. I had a habit of listening to my body and feeding it what it wanted when it wanted it. I gained (shhhh!) 90lbs when I was pregnant. Apparently I considered birthing a preteen and not an infant. Anyway. When the heavy pregnancy fog finally lifted, I realized I could NOT trust my body anymore. It got a little carried away at my expense. Boo! I lost 30 lbs immediately and then stayed at around 180lbs for a few years. With (not so) recent events, I shed an entire 160lbs! But, it belonged to another human being. Surprisingly, I also managed to lose another 25-30lbs (of my own weight) and am beginning to trust my body again. If the thing wants brownies, who am I to deny it!?
So... for the first time in my life I made brownies from scratch!
It's actually a surprise, because I make a lot of things from scratch. The one thing I can think of that I have not made from scratch (now) is a cake. And, I'm not interested. I'm not a huge cake gal. I prefer apple pie any day! So, after I realized I had everything on hand that I would need to make brownies, I decided to give it a go. Actually, my mom gave me a little nudge (she couldn't bake to save her life) but, I really didn't need one. There are just some days when this girl just wants some chocolate... especially around the same time every month... anyone catching my drift here? I know I'm not the only one...
Anyway... check out these little monkeys!
I'll explain my process... I don't measure exactly. I don't write recipes, I prefer to tell the tales of my kitchen, so feel free to copy and paste and then edit out my rambles if you actually want to MAKE these. Don't stress over measurements and for heaven's sake TASTE your batter. Always!
I preheated the oven to 350*.
Lightly sprayed a 13X9" glass pan with canola oil.
I put 2 stick of UNSALTED butter in a pan on low heat (to gently melt, not boil).
In my mixing bowl (that I later attach to my KitchenAid stand mixer- which you do not need, but is nice) I mixed 1 1/4 cups of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of Baking POWDER, and 1 teaspoon of salt with a fork.
I checked on my butter stirring often with a silicone spatula (not the flipping pancakes kind, the kind you can scrape the sides of jars with... you don't NEED one of those, but really... go to the dollar store and grab one, it will change your baking- and cooking- life forever.)
In a measuring cup (for no reason- it's just where I like to beat my eggs) I cracked open four large eggs and mixed them well- with a fork- then added 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract.
I went back to checking on that butter. I know it was on too low to over heat or boil, but you (I) never know when those little kitchen elves will decide to wreak havoc in your (my) kitchen dreams, starting fires or adding cornstarch to your (my) cocoa (this happened- so be warned! and keep an eye on all of your goodness... for goodness' sake, of course).
Good grief where were we?
Sugar! And, tons of it. Feel free to pass out when you read this. Any faint could be cured with a taste of these brownies, anyway.
You ready? 2 cups of granulated Sugar... yep... geesh!
Add the sugar to your melting butter. Don't let it get too hot. But, don't lose your mind. You want the sugar to start dissolving, but not fully dissolve. Never. Ever. Ever let it boil. Capischi?
Stir it slowly. Try not to focus on the unhealthy mess in the pan. It's tastes SO good in the end, and you won't even care. I promise. And, if you will still care... leave now and do some sit ups for even looking at these goodies! Seriously people don't punish yourself for eating. And, don't punish yourself by eating. Portion control is key. And, losing control is natural. It'll all work out in the end. One day. Right?!
Okay back to work.
Sugar butter melt all gooey and not totally dissolved? Sweet!
Add it to the cocoa powder mix in the first bowl.
Blend it as well as you can without over doing it.
Now S L O W L Y add your egg mix. Since I have a stand mixer doing the work, I just leave my measuring cup o' eggs at a slight angle so they are very slowly added. Otherwise, if mixing my hand, I'd add about and 1/4 cup of egg/vanilla mix at a time. Mix in good, add more, and so on.
Then, it's time to add 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Add it slowly until well mixed, but not overly whipped.
Scrape the sides of the bowl- a spatula helps!- and the bottom where powdered ingredients like to hide. Give it another stir if you need, if not, it's time to pour it in the greased dish.
You can smear it around to even it out if you need to.
Place in the middle of your oven for about 20 minutes. Yeh, I know... I don't measure and I don't keep time. I remember that I was 'supposed' to cook these for around 35 minutes, but at around 20 minutes I looked at them and knew they were done.
I stuck a toothpick in the fattest part of the huge brownie and it came out 'almost' completely clean. I like a little stick to the toothpick with brownies, not gooey uncooked batter, just slightly squishy.
I let the brownies 'stand' for about 5 minutes, and they are so hot I feel like they can finish the cooking a little.
I ALWAYS use a plastic knife when I cut brownies. I'm serious! They don't tear up like when I used to use metal knives. I couldn't make that up. I saw the tip a long time ago and have forever kept 1 plastic knife in my drawer solely for brownie cutting. I wish I knew where I saw or read that tip. I'd love to give credit, but I honestly don't remember.
So... while they were cooling I decided I really wanted to use the 'pecan powder' my mom had brought me when I had Pecans on my grocery list. This is the price I pay for letting my mom do my shopping. I'm a particular gal, and when you are used to doing your shopping you don't realize your particulars until you get multiple calls from the store, 'do you want this or that?' or when your ____ (enter guest shopper here) grabs your list and brings you pulverized pecans...
Uh, so... I like pecans A LOT. I felt like the crumbs of pecan would be lost in the batter and I wouldn't actually taste the nut, just know it was there. I like the taste of pecans so I chose to top my brownies with them. Sure I could have sprinkled them all over the top of my batter while baking... and risk them getting burnt?! Pffft! Not I. So instead I grabbed about 3-4 handfuls of chocolate chips (another grocery store misfire. I keep Dark Choc chips in the fridge for little pick me ups- and I was graced with milk choc. chips... I appreciate her efforts, and am just now much more aware of my specifics.) Anyway. Throw the chocolate into a pan. Again with the low low heat constant stirring, and this time a mini spatula. While the brownies cooled I slowly melted chocolate chips.
I cut the brownies and one by one I placed on a wooden spatula (they were hot!) and smeared my melted chocolate over the top, then dipped each into a little container I had poured the crushed pecans into.
In the end I was left with these, and I am VERY pleased!