My favorite form of chocolate…

Prepare for your world to be rocked… the recipe calls these “brownies”, but I made mine a bit more like cake. Either way – brace yourself!

A shout out to my boss who brought these brownies into work around Christmas time… thanks Marsha!!! So, so, so good! And thank you for sharing the Penzeys catalog you brought back from your road trip! I have appreciated reading about their product line and some of the other recipes they share in their catalog! THIS ONE, though, BY FAR, is my favorite!

The idea of pouring the cocoa frosting over the piping hot cake is stellar… it’s like there are 3 layers of goodness to eat your way through: the top layer of cocoa frosting followed by a very moist and rich chocolate cake… but in between those two layers is a melty layer of fudge-like goodness (created by what I can only describe as a “melding” of hot cake and fresh frosting poured on top). Oh wow… this really IS chocolate nirvana!

Favorite Chocolate Brownies
Recipe courtesy Annette Gong, Penzeys Spices Fall 2010 catalog pg 53

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup butter
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 pound powdered sugar (4 ¼ cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 10×15 rimmed pan or 9×13 pan (for more cake-like brownies) and set aside. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and water and stir well to combine. When the mixture starts boiling, remove from heat, pour over the dry ingredients and stir. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into the pan for 18-20 minutes, 25 if baked in a 9×13 pan. (Note from Lori: I made mine in a 9×13 pan and found it needed more like 30 minutes.)

During the last 10 minutes of baking, make the frosting. In the same saucepan you used earlier melt the butter. Add the cocoa and buttermilk and stir. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Fold in nuts, if desired. As soon as you remove the brownies from the oven, carefully pour frosting over hot brownies.

Sidenote on making your own buttermilk – have you ever heard of such a thing?! I used to get frustrated buying buttermilk for a specific recipe and only needing 1/2 cup of it (knowing a good portion of it would go to waste). Well, I ran across a way to make my own buttermilk as a substitute for the real stuff.

What you’ll need:
– milk (just under one cup)
– 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

How to prepare:
1. Place a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

And it REALLY works! I love these kinds of kitchen tips…

Confession time:
As I prepared this blog entry, on a Saturday morning, I was enjoying a piece with a hot cup of coffee. As the saying goes, life is short – eat dessert first!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


One thought on “My favorite form of chocolate…

  1. Another alternative to fresh buttermilk: "saco cultured buttermilk blend" A powder you buy in the baking section of your grocery. Once opened, you cover the top with plastic wrap, then replace lid, so that it is very tight and store in your refrigerator until needed.And you do not have to "reconstitute" it to use it! Just add the appropriate amount of dry power with your dry ingredients. Then add the water with your liquid ingredients. I learned this when I was baking a lot of bread.BTW–the brownies sound scrumptous. I may try them for the SuperBowl gathering my neighbor is having. Would they be a "finger food"? Probably not…Nancy


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