Friday, December 31, 2010

Chocolate Brownies

I was putting on the last touches for my New Year's Eve gathering and finding it hard to believe another year has come to an end. This has been a challenging year. I have had a lot of struggles, lost some special people along the way, dealt with some health issues...but thankfully I'm still standing and have a good feeling about what is to come.

I'm looking forward to bringing in the new year with some close friends. During the course of the year I met some wonderful new friends, reconnected with some friends and have some old friends stopping by, like my bestie coming to town from NYC, who I have been friends with for over 15 years.

We have had snow on three occasions already so it is looking like we may have a bad winter. New York got about 21-32 inches of snow over the Christmas weekend. I started to worry that my girlfriend would not get here from New York. And to my dismay, she called to tell me that it did not make sense for her to come down with the weather being unpredictable and having to get back in the swing of things after the first of the year. I was admittedly kind of bummed because we only get to hang out 4-5 times a year.

Oddly enough, her mother was in town visiting for Christmas vacation from North Carolina. And ma's flight got cancelled for 5 days because of the inclement weather. So turns out, Ms. T is going to have to drive her mother to North Carolina to bring her back home. My, my! God works in mysterious ways, huh? By some strange coincidence, she will be coming to the gathering after all. Things are already working in my favor and the new year hasn't even begun yet. This is a good sign!

One of my many tasks for today was to make a brownie tray with chocolate and blonde brownies. In my opinion, fudge brownies are a better partner with ice cream and chocolate sauce and chocolate brownies are better standalone brownies. Brownies can be dressed up with chocolate chip morsels, walnuts, pecans or whatever you are in the mood for. I am in the mood for walnuts and chocolate chips today. Can't you see how gooey and rich these are just from the pictures?

I think the best brownies are chewy with a crunchy top. Chewy brownies are achieved by removing the brownies from the oven a moment or two sooner than the recipe calls for, when there is a tad bit of batter on the toothpick when inserted.

Happy New Year! Wishing you a healthy, happy, prosperous 2011.

Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup melted butter, divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine cocoa and baking soda; blend in 1/3 cup melted butter.

Add boiling water; stir until well blended. Stir in sugar, beaten eggs, remaining 1/3 cup butter and vanilla flavoring.

Stir in flour and salt. Fold nuts and the chocolate chips into batter. Pour batter into a greased baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.

Cool before cutting into squares.

 All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

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