Chewy Brownies Recipe

Everyone loves brownies.  Who wouldn't, with their moist crumb, satiny crust, and strong and sweet chocolate taste.  They are definitely a favorite around here, especially to my brother Isaac.  He is very picky about his brownies and hasn't liked any of the homemade brownies that I've tried making before these, so we've always stuck with the trusted box mix brownies.  Every recipe for brownies that I've tried, the taste just isn't right.  They tend to be bitter, dry and just blah (if you know what I mean).  

It was last Monday and we were trying to decide what dessert to make to take over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for supper.  I was feeling adventurous and wanted to try something new.  I went through my cookbooks and came across a chewy brownies recipe in The Best Of America's Test Kitchen 2011.  Have you ever heard of America's Test Kitchen?  I first heard of it on PBS.  They have a cooking show that I always love to watch.  They test recipes and come up with formulas for the best cakes, cookies, ect.  I made these brownies in very little time and was delighted with the results.  They looked prettier that the box mix brownies and they tasted better that the box mix brownies, and you know how hard it is to come close to compare with those Ghirardelli brownies.  The brownies had a silky crust concealing the chewy, moist, and soft inside that made you drool just by looking at it.  Also, the chocolate chips gave a nice added chocolaty and gooeyness to the already amazing brownies.  

To sum all of this up, these brownies are better than any box mix brownies you've ever had.  Now, I've done all the convincing I can do...

Chewy Brownies recipe from The Best Of America's Test Kitchen 2011 
Makes 2 dozen 2-inch brownies

1/3 cup (1 once) Dutch-processed coca powder
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (We didn't have bittersweet chocolate, so I just used semi-sweet chocolate chips and it worked wonderfully)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.  Set aside.
2.  Whisk the cocoa powder, expresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in a large bowl until smooth.  Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted.  Whisk in the melted butter and oil.  (The mixture may look curdled, don't worry that is want it is supposed to look like until you add the eggs. Move on.)  Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous.  Whisk in the sugar until fully incorporated.  Add the flour and salt with a rubber spatula until combined.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.  Cut into 2-inch squares and serve, with a little confectioners sugar maybe?  (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.)

P.S. If you would like to achieve the heart design on your brownies like mine, all you have to do is fold a piece of paper in half then cut a half heart shape.  Unfold the heart and place it on your brownies, sprinkle confectioners' sugar on top.  Carefully lift the heart from the brownies and voila! 

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55 degrees on January 11th

With the Christmas decorations down for the year, the word 2013 becoming more familiar, and no snow covering the earth, it feels like Spring.  The grass is green, the ground is wet, the air is warm.  Where I live, where having a warm spell.  It is supposed to be in the 50's and 60's all the weekend and next week.  I like it.  I'm ready for everyday to be in the 50's and 60's.  Everything that is supposed to happen in Winter has happened, and now I'm looking forward to a new season, Spring.  The season when flowers bloom, when I finish up school, when the tree limbs grow leaves, and when I turn a year older.

Today, after reading Persuasion, I decided to go outside and take some pictures.  I walked around the outside of our house taking pictures of this and that, then decided to head to the barn then walk in the fields and take pictures of the cows.  I thought they were all good ideas, but soon realized when my feet sunk down into the deep mud, that maybe walking in the fields was not such a great idea.  My feet quickly became damp from a few tiny holes in my boots.  I slowly maneuvered myself through the gate and back on gravel.  I thought I would have to settle for long distance photos of the cows but, Bell, who saw me and was curious, was nice enough to walk up from the field and pose for a little bit.

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Making faces

Today, my little cousins came over to play with Sebastian before he, Mary, Cody, and Bruno leave to go back to NC tomorrow.  They are some of the cutest kids I know.  They all have such distinguished and silly personalities.  I was sitting at the table when Taylor, that girl that is too cute, came up to me and asked in her soft and sweet voice if she could see my fish.  We all walked up to my room and gathered around my fish bowl.  They were all fascinated by my bata's large eyes and Wade, who acts way older than he actually is, thought that my fish's fin was broken... No, I don't think so...  After staring at my fish for a while, I thought it would be fun to take some pictures on my computer.  It first started out with just Taylor and I but grew to group shoots.  They all had fun making different and creative faces.  Now, get ready for some ridiculously awesome faces.
left to right:  Brody, Sebastian, Taylor, and Wade

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