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Brownies



This was the very first baked product I EVER made, and it's a huge hit wherever I take it.

I don't even remember why I settled on brownies as my first baking project. My original entry from 2005 indicates that I did it because "I want[ed] to." Really, is there any problem there?? ;) It seemed really easy, and my primary requirement for recipes when I was starting out was that it had to be easy, haha. It's really quick to assemble, and actually I finished both the banana bread and these brownies before it even turned 11am this morning.

As a novice baker, there was no better confidence booster than having people gush about how much they loved this brownie! They would ask around at parties who made this goddamned amazing brownie, their eyes would widen as they took that first bite, and I could literally see that 'mouthgasm' moment haha. One of my friends asked if the brownie was actually from a restaurant; I guess it seemed that professional, and took that as a huge compliment.

Now, as most of my friends know, I've started to try and cut the sugar, fat, and caloric content of the recipes I try. But I was a little hesitant with this recipe, particularly with substituting oil for butter. My postgrad supervisor, upon tasting the brownie, said, "you can tell that you used real butter in this. Nothing else would taste this good." You can see why I hesitated! I wound up only replacing half the butter, partly because that was exactly how much butter I had left in the fridge, heh. I did do my usual cut-backs on sugar and eggs, and I'm happy to report that they are still just as amazing as I remember them: gooey, soft, chocolatey, rich, and decadent! But of course, even though they may be less calorrific than they might be without these substitutions, they're still not health food, so consume in moderation! ;)

Here's something a little extra, because when I said I was making brownies, a friend said that I should totally do something called "brownie bites" which are like... brownies coated with chocolate and frozen, or something? I followed pretty much the procedure for cheesecake pops (which I should really write up so I can make that a link). Roll, mount, freeze, coat. They're nothing fancy, just trying this whole brownie pop thing. I'm no Bakerella! Anyway, T, this is for you!



Another thing you can do with these brownies is to gift the dry ingredients as a brownie mix. If you follow the link below, you'll see how you can layer the dry ingredients in a clear jar, and attach a pretty tag with instructions. Personally I haven't tried it, but it seems popular in the comments so I thought I'd include that suggestion.

Brownies (makes 28 servings)
adapted heaps from here at AllRecipes, mostly from the feedback from the commenters

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour

3 whole eggs
1/2 cup (115g) butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola/olive/sunflower etc.)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 350F or 175C.

1) Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine (it doesn't matter if you add the wet ingredients straight in or if you mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl first.) It'll take a while for it to combine completely, but keep at it! Work those arm muscles! Roar. Anyway.

Pro-tip: Melt the butter until it's almost completely liquid for easier mixing. I know it's not very 'professional' but pfft.

2) Pour and spread the batter into a 9X13 baking pan lined with greased baking parchment. You can also use a 9X9 or 8X8, just adjust the cooking time.

3) Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer through the outer 2/3 comes out clean. [This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Do not bake it till the skewer/knife comes out clean in the centre - at that point it is overdone.] Baking times can differ depending on the material of the pan you are baking in, and how hot/evenly your oven runs, so adjust to take that into account. If baking in a smaller pan, the batter is thicker so might need up to 35 minutes in the oven.

4) Remove from the oven, and using the parchment lining, carefully pull/lift the brownie out of the baking pan and onto a wire rack to cool. This is especially important if you are baking in ceramic or glass/Pyrex, as they will retain a lot of heat. It will continue cooking from residual heat inside the brownie for a bit anyway, so you don't want any extra source of heat once it's out of the oven.

Important! Make sure you have a slice while it's still quite warm (although not so warm that you burn yourself, of course!) It is absolutely delicious in all its hot, moist goodness. Serve warm on its own or with some vanilla ice cream.

Calories per serving: 169 calories if cutting into 28 pieces.

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