Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bewitched, Bothered and Brownied.

I can't get to sleep. Against my better judgement, I just had to go and watch the premiere of Fox's American Horror Story "Coven" tonight and well, it scared the bee jeebus outta me. Now I can't sleep. Instead of counting sheep or drifting off to la-la land by listening to narrated news stories on Unamo,  I decide to get up and head to the kitchen. I'll just "busy" myself back to sleep; besides Jessica Lange and her bewitching brood won't dare try attack me in a kitchen full of knives. I plunge in by tackling the crusted on goo off a baking sheet (I think it was from last month's peach cobbler), then wiping down the counters and stove top and reorganizing my all my kitchen gadgets. 
Two hours and  two stacks of dirty dishes later, I still wasn't sleepy--hungry--but not sleepy. I pull out the recipe box and begin leafing through the half dozen spot-stained, dog-eared index cards, ragged clippings of recipes cut from Family Circle and the Wednesday Food sections, as well as the faded, wrinkled notes of my great-grandmother's handwritten recipes. 
The late hour prevents me from doing a long lengthy recipe, so I go with a simple family favorite: brownies. Brownies are easy to make. You don't need any fancy equipment--a whisk and a bowl will do the job.The best part of brownies, unlike most baked items, is you don't need to wait for them to cool completely to enjoy the pay off. 
After polishing off two brownies and a glass of milk I think I'm ready for bed. In my opinion, chocolate is the best remedy for insomnia or nightmares about witches. 

Fudge Brownies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup butter
1/4 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee, cooled
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 12-ounce bag of semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Grease and flour a 8x8-inch baking dish.
Combine the sugar, espresso, and butter in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir inthe chopped chocolate chips and the vanilla extract until the chocolate has melted. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until incorporated, then fold in the remaining bag of chocolate chips along with the walnuts. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Whisking the melted chocolate and butter over a double boiler.

Adding the sugar and blend until smooth.
After the eggs have been added,  fold the flour mixture and blend well.
Ready for the oven.
Do I need to wait until they cool?

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