At our house, these are called snow day brownies. Last winter, by this time, the snow was heaped up so high that the older children could literally reach out and touch the roof of our porch from the side yard. For days and days and days, feet upon feet fell from the sky and our world was deep, white, and quiet for many months.
This year, it couldn't be more different. We had one tiny snowfall the third week of January, and since then it's been sunny and above freezing every day. Now, there's only the tiniest hard cover of icy snow in the shady spots, and the dry, brittle winter grass is exposed. At midday we are even seeing mud. It's a warm winter, and I'm not sorry. It's the busiest I've ever been and with two children whose legs are less than 18 inches long we wouldn't be having the worlds most exciting time in deep snow anyhow.
But last winter, when school was cancelled again and again, the kids and I sought to make the most delicious, fantastic brownies ever. Well, I admit. It was my project. I tweaked the recipe and they taste tested. But after a few rounds we landed at these as the tastiest, most dense, chocolately brownies we could make. The combination of cocoa and baking chocolate really amps up the flavor. If you can get it, really high-quality chocolate does make a serious difference. I normally buy Ghiradelli as it's easy to get at any supermarket but if you're a Whole Foods fanatic you can probably even go upwards from there.
The recipe is as follows:
1 cup butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt (more or less depending on whether or not you used salted butter)
scant 1 1/2 cups flour
about 1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips
Melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat. Cool, and beat in the eggs and sugar. Mix in the vanilla, salt, flour and cocoa. Finally add the chocolate chips.
Butter and flour a 9x13 inch pan. (I always line the pan with foil, and grease and flour that. To alleviate my guilt about wasting a piece of foil I use it to wrap the brownies in after they come out, as we always eat at least half the pan before they cool. Let the foil overhang the ends of the pan so you can lift the foil out easily when the brownies come out of the oven)
Pour the batter in, spread it out evenly, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. With brownies you don't want the tester to be completely dry, it's better to have some wet crumbs stuck to it as you want them moist and gooey. When you take them out you can lift the foil and lay the brownies on the counter to cool. When cool they should peel right off the foil.
I usually ice them with this icing, but you don't have to:
3 tablespoons soft butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
smoosh this all together, and add about a cup of confectioner's sugar. I then drizzle in cream or whole milk to make it the right consistency to ice the brownies.
Yes, this is a delicious, dairy rich recipe. The batter in the photo is a totally sub-par, poor substitute for this recipe, but this dairy free mama has got to eat something before I shrink away into nothing. So please, all you readers, go to your kitchens and bake a batch of the real deal for me, and eat them up with gusto. You only live once.