Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brownies for a Spring Blizzard

Spring comes slowly to Colorado, and when it does arrive, the trees lavish with blossoms and the air fresh and fragrant, it seems we barely get a chance to enjoy it before winter returns.  And this time of year, the snow tends to be heavy and wet, weighing down the trees, breaking branches.

There was just such a storm this weekend, and the snow fell from Friday night until this Sunday afternoon, blanketing the city in a foot and a half of crushing snow.  Our lilac bushes lay flat on the ground under all that snow, and the trees in our back yard bent severely under the weight.  With my husband out of town, I repeatedly pulled on my boots and coat, and trudged through the knee-deep snow to shake the trees and try to save the branches, although sadly, one big branch still broke.

The power went out for about five minutes, scaring me for that short time, but other than that, I was safe and warm inside, completely snowed in, but with hot soup, crusty bread, and these fudge brownies.

This is my favorite recipe for brownies, and one that I've made over and over.  They are dark, dense and fudge-like, and perfect with a scoop of ice cream.  I usually frost them, preferably with cappuccino buttercream, but this time I just dusted them with a sprinkling of powdered sugar over a stencil, for a pretty and fancy finish.

Perfect Fudge Brownies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Hershey's "Special Dark")
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Baker's Note:  For a bigger batch, double the recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.  Bittersweet chocolate chips are also a welcome addition in these brownies; mix in after the flour.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line a square 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over two sides.  Spray with non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.  In a bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder.  Pour the butter in and mix together with a wooden spoon.  Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Stir in the flour just until moistened.

Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly into the pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.  For easy removal from the pan, lift the parchment paper by the overhang to remove the brownies from the pan, set on a cutting board and cut into squares.

Yields 9-12 brownies

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen