Monday, July 2, 2012

Fudgy Brownies

 Here’s my first warning – these are not in any way, shape, or form diet brownies, healthy brownies, or “your doctor recommended you have one a day” brownies. These are fudgy, yummy, gooey, stick-straight-to your-thighs brownies – and I don’t think there is really any other type worth eating.

Bit of advice before you start this recipe – don’t think about substituting healthier ingredients if you want the same gooey result…these are truly an indulgent brownie…aren’t you excited?!?

Fudgy Brownies Recipe
¼ c shortening (Crisco is great, and by great, I mean awful – which for this purpose makes it great)
¾ c margarine
¾ c unsweetened cocoa
2 c sugar (raw sugar is actually better – in the US, I would actually encourage you to even mix 1 c white sugar with 1 c brown sugar, since most brown sugar in the US is fairly refined)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts (optional, and I would recommend walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 375F.

In a small pot, melt the shortening and margarine. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the melted margarine & shortening – it will be a bit difficult to mix due to the viscosity of the egg mixture and the greasiness (yes, greasiness) of the margarine/shortening mixture. Continue with gentle persistence (you could apply that phrase to various situations in life, actually….I’ll leave application up to you).

Once the shortening/margarine is combined with the sugar mixture, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Now, many (ok almost all) baking recipes recommend that you combine the flour, salt, baking whatever in a separate bowl THEN add it to your wet ingredients. This is purely so you don’t get globs of salt or baking soda in your finished product. I don’t like to do dishes (unless I have someone fun to do them with, and my children aren’t pulling on my legs the whole time) so I add the flour to the wet ingredients, DON’T MIX, then put the baking whatever and salt on top of the flour & do a little ‘top mix’, if you know what I mean. After the salt & baking soda/powder is mixed in with the flour, I mix together the wet and dry ingredients. So….do that for this recipe.

Once your batter is mixed up, you can add walnuts if you like, and then…eat a bit of it.  Go ahead, it’s ok, you won’t get sick. Here’s the ish on salmonella: (disclaimer – please do your own research, as I hold no responsibility for anyone getting sick from eating raw batter.) Salmonella is an intestinal disease, and is transmitted via the fecal-oral routine (I did not come up with that name, by the way, and feel a bit uncomfortable writing it here…we’re all adults, though, you get the point). Salmonella is found on the outside of eggs, on the shell, not inside (unless of course the shell has been compromised prior to use , in which case you shouldn’t use that egg anyway). If your eggs are clean prior to use, there shouldn’t be any salmonella transmitted to your batter (I wash mine in light bleach water for 10 minutes when I first buy them…I also live in Kenya, so the eggs come a bit more dirty than they do in the US). So, go for it, eat some batter…but again, do your own research/recognize I’m not a salmonella specialist, but have just done some independent research because I LOVE eating batter…

Another note about eggs – if they have never been refrigerated, they don’t have to be. Most eggs in the US are sold from a refrigerator, so you need to keep them in your fridge. BUT, if you can find them unrefrigerated, you can keep them unrefrigerated for several weeks. In Kenya, the eggs are sold on the shelf in the grocery store, and are stored in my pantry (after being washed of course).

Okay, sorry for the egg tangent. Back to the brownies. Pour your brownie batter into a greased 9x13 pan and place in the oven. Let them bake for approximately 30 min. I say approximately because I encourage you to bake your brownies to your own gooey preference. Keep in mind the brownies will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven, and will firm up more as they cool. I find the best brownies are ones that are almost impossible to scoop out of the pan when they first come out of the oven, due to being so soft.

You can eat immediately, but you’ll probably need a fork and a napkin or you can let cool for a bit until the brownies have firmed up a bit.

A couple warnings:
If you use too much flour, this recipe ends up being quite cakey, and not nearly as good. I actually recommend, especially in the US, using  about ¼ c LESS flour. Also, if you use butter and oil, all oil, orange juice, or some other healthier substitute for the fatty ingredients, your brownies will not turn out like the original recipe. Feel free to experiment, and let me know if you come up with a deliciously healthy substitute. I’m all for healthy eating, but do believe some food items have no hope of being healthy and should just be enjoyed as a moment of indulgence.