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Crabby&Crabbier: Tom’s Brownies

Revisiting recipes from The Crabby Cook Cookbook, we made these for a crowd and watched them vanish in five minutes…My husband and I do not need brownies; we’ve eaten enough of them already to meet our lifetime quota and to account for certain body changes that I will not describe here. But Tom is a hopeless chocoholic, so on the occasions when I make brownies (or C.C.C.’s) to curry favor with my kids’ friends, I have to keep an eye on them.

For a long time, when brownies disappeared from the cooling rack and my husband seemed the obvious perpetrator, he would issue a denial and look meaningfully in the direction of Oliver, our dog. So I thought the golden retriever was both amazingly athletic (how did he reach the brownies I placed behind the kitchen sink?) and had a remarkable tolerance for chocolate, a substance that is notorious for making dogs ill.

But then, on a recent occasion, I left a hot brownie batch on the counter to cool and took Oliver for a walk. When I returned and noticed that the baking pan was half empty, I did a breathalizer test on napping Tom. Sure enough: chocolate breath. (And a messy crime scene: brown crumbs on the sofa.)

Since then, I have become more creative with my hiding places, putting cooling racks in the car or under the sink in the guest bathroom.

So far, so good. Tom has lost five pounds.

Tom’s Brownies


Yield: 12 brownies

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (plus extra for the baking dish)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup roasted, salted peanuts (like Planter’s cocktail peanuts)

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Butter a 8×8” baking pan, line it with parchment, and butter the parchment.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and set it aside to cool. Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Using a whisk, (or an electric hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs for about two minutes, until they are well blended, light and pale yellow. Gradually beat in the melted butter. Stir in the vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix well, then fold the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is crusty and cracking around the edges. A toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out with a little batter on it.

4. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan, them  cut them into 12 pieces and serve.

P.S.: While revisiting this recipe I used walnuts in place of peanuts. More ordinary but still tasty.




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