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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Booooooo.... Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween today - one of the holidays I have always enjoyed.  When I lived in Austin, we decorated the house and yard and had pumpkin carving parties...it was great fun.  I also had my little grandbabies who enjoyed coming to Grandma's house because there were lots of bowls of candy and spooky decor for several weeks before the 31st!

Now, well, the celebration is pretty limited.  I have a couple of Halloween shirts that are cool enough to wear here at the coast...I do very minimal decorating...and I'm keeping the candy to a negligible amount as well (or else I eat too much)!  What I do enjoy, though, is the baking that starts to gear up around this time of year.  It's like the prelude to Thanksgiving and Christmas...sort of sticking in your toes to test the water.  In earlier posts I wrote about the pumpkins and ghosts that I baked using a cookie recipe I tweaked to incorporate some acorn squash I had.  Those are long gone...and today is the day, so I wanted something fairly easy to do, yet still delicious.

I am a fan of Joy of Baking on Facebook...and her website too!  The recipes have always been good and I like that she has pictures.  Today's offering was Fudgy Chocolate Brownies and that sounded fabulous.  I just took them out of the oven and my condo smells like Willy Wonka's factory!  My goodness - that pound and a half of chocolate made an incredibly thick batter and a resulted in a oh-so-chocolatey smell that lured the teen from his man cave (it takes a lot to do that!).

I linked the web site - but I'm going to type in the recipe here for future reference - specifically the way I made it.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies:
1 1/2 pounds of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 12 oz of 60% cacao chocolate chips and 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips - because that's what I had)
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, cut into pieces
6 large eggs (I had mine at room temperature)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached flour whenever possible)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. 
Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray, which is what I did) a 9 x 13 inch pan. 
Then line the pan with parchment paper. (I lined only the bottom and ran a sharp knife along the edge of the pan before removing - I wish I had completely lined with parchment - it would have been easier to remove...especially if I had left some excess sticking up so they could be lifted out)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir to incorporate to a smooth consistency.
Remove from heat and set aside. 
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk (I used a stand mixer) together the eggs and sugar.
Fold in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. (I didn't really fold - I put the mixer on slow and carefully poured the chocolate in)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
and then fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate and sugar mixture until well combined.
(I had about 1/2 cup of milk chocolate morsels leftover from previous baking - I tossed those in the batter whole - you could also chop and toss in some nuts if desired)
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes (mine took 50 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. (Don't overcook - makes for dry brownies)  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.  These freeze very well.
Makes about 32 brownies (I cut my batch into large pieces - 24 brownies to accommodate the decor).

It took a long time for them to cool to room temperature because they are some THICK brownies...call it baked fudge and it's a more apt description.  They are dy-no-MITE.  I decorated with powdered sugar and some Halloween stencils I had on hand.  I frosted a couple with some leftover frosting I had in the fridge - the top is crackly so that didn't work so well.  I did have fun...so I count my Halloween as complete.  Now, I need to take some of these to my neighbor, to get them OUT of my house... or I will be sorry!!!
 
I'd certainly recommend this recipe - and have printed it and put it in my old fashioned recipe box - it will become a favorite I'm sure! (sorry about the format issues - Blogspot apparently has ghosts and goblins in their platform today...it is NOT doing what I tell it - and I give up!  BOO! The trick's on me I guess :-)

Happy Halloween y'all !!!


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