Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Peter's family brownies (with cinnamon, too!)
I couldn't begin to tell you where my obsession with food came from.
Well, that's a lie - I suppose I told you a little bit recently, what with my adoration of Ming's uncanny knack for producing the perfect cupcake every time. But that truly only explains the soft spot I have in my heart for the perfectly single-serving cake, contained in flowery paper and topped with a dollop (or perhaps a mountain, depending on who you are) of frosting. I've branched out since then, in both the food I'm thinking about and how I'm thinking about it, but I still haven't put a finger on where the fascination stems from. I guess I did watch a lot of The Food Network when I was in high school, too, but that still doesn't seem like the best explanation.
We didn't do a whole lot of cooking when I was growing up. Sure, my dad would grill meat - my favorite days were when I'd come home to a mound of juicy, red steak or pork in a bowl on our countertop, soaking up the flavors of sweet, salty teriyaki sauce and bits of minced garlic. It never disappointed, so long as he honored my request for him to not char my portion. My mom would make pasta, typically with store-bought sauce. My parents would occasionally request I make them cookies, always from a bag of Betty Crocker mix, to often be topped with a canned frosting. I fended for myself a lot of the time and subsequently ate loads and loads of Easy Mac.
I never went hungry, and often I quite enjoyed our menu (during those last few years of high school, my dad and I made some pretty kick-ass stir fry, and we made more than cupcakes last summer), but I can't say that I've had the same sort of familial cooking experiences that I read about in my favorite food blogs. No one's taught me how to make bread rise or how to roll my own pasta dough, no one's taught me the family recipe for chicken soup (though I just requested that my great-aunt send me a bunch of my great-grandmother's old recipes - I'm finally going to learn some family traditions!), and I cannot say that very many of my fondest memories include the kitchen. Looks like I'm a little late to the game. But better late than never, right?
These brownies come from my good friend Peter (who also happened to take all the photos for this entry, since my trusty photographer was not being so trusty). You may recognize him as the handsome chap in an apron in some of my photos - we're planning a full apron photo shoot at some point in the future (at least I am - not sure how he'll feel about it). His recipe got me thinking about family traditions, and I anxiously await the emails that will contain the recipes for the food my grandmother continually raves about. If they come out half as good as Peter's brownies, I'll be pleased. I think flour makes up the smallest part of this recipe, and there are only five ingredients. This should tell you something (or two things - that they're easy and delicious). I hope you enjoyed your birthday brownies, Sarah!
Peter's Family Brownies
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups butter (two and a half sticks), melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
** 1/2 teaspoon salt
** 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a 9" x 13" baking pan. (note: ours was metal, and we greased and floured it)
2. Melt your butter and chocolate separately, using either a microwave or a double boiler. (note: we used a microwave for the butter and a double boiler for the chocolate, since we didn't want to accidentally scald the chocolate. Ingredients are expensive!)
3. Mix together your butter and sugar with a whisk until well-blended. Add eggs and whisk until well-blended.
4. Add flour mix and whisk until well-combined, then add the melted chocolate and whisk until well-blended. (note: be sure to admire the pretty chocolate/sugar mix swirls)
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester in the center comes out just barely clean. (note: our brownies took between 28 and 30 minutes, and Peter was very particular about them coming out at the right time. You'll either end up with super gummy or super dry brownies otherwise, so watch these closely!)
** As we all know, experimentation is half the fun in the kitchen. Peter and I had an epic battle over me wanting to add a bit of salt and cinnamon to his recipe, but he eventually conceded that my version (made as a second batch, of course - there was no touching the original recipe the first time around) was tasty, too. They tasted exactly like the Mexican hot cocoa at a local coffee shop here.
Posted by Shaina at 8:13 AM