Tag Archives: brownies

Brownie Cookies

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting with my sister-in-law Jeannine’s 5th grade class at Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School. The students are learning the concept of word choice and are practicing using descriptive words and phrases to convey specific thoughts. At the beginning of my visit, Jaime Cheafsky, one of Hackett’s student teachers from Temple University (and, coincidentally, our cousin) read aloud from Stone Soup, a fable translated across various cultures in which hungry soldiers progressively persuade villagers to access their personal depository of ingredients and add to a stock pot full of boiling water and stones in order to make them dinner. The class then read aloud from a previously published Clean Plate article as Ms. Beck engaged them with questions regarding vocabulary, context, and the use of metaphors.

Hackett's 5th graders developed descriptive words for these brownie cookies.

Hackett’s 5th graders developed descriptive words for these brownie cookies.

The students’ assignment is to provide their own recipe and incorporate a personal narrative and description, and before they delved into their work I was able to discuss the background of Clean Plate, talk about my writing experiences, and share some tips on how I create my articles each week. The class was incredibly intelligent and interactive, and before I left for the day I figured I would take advantage of the creativity flowing throughout the room and enlist their help for this week’s recipe. I passed around these Brownie Cookies and the students used their senses to help me develop some key words that could paint an accurate picture of what this recipe is like. Read More…

Nutella Brownies

Since Philadelphia was pummeled with snow last week, I was stuck inside for 2 days in a row. Is there a better excuse to eat, drink and be merry?
Last Wednesday, when Snowpocalypse 2010 hit us hard, I woke up and fixed a huge pot of McCann’s Steel Cut Oats. You’d think it was a healthy breakfast, except I ate it all with gobs of melted brown sugar on top. It’s possible I walked the calories off, when a group of us trudged through the snow to El Camino Real, however my entire afternoon consisted of endless nachos and salsa, an appetizer of fries, pulled pork…with a side of fries, baked beans, and pitchers of margaritas. You can see why I literally ate myself sick. It probably didn’t help much that this outing was followed by another round or two (or four) of beers at another bar.
The next day I woke up hungover. Not necessarily from alcohol, but from over consumption in general. Living the gluttonous life was fun for a little bit, but by snow day #2 I was ready to detox with a nice, crispy salad.
Not before I made these insane Nutella Brownies.
Nutella Brownies
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter cooled slightly
With the rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake pan with parchment paper, letting the paper extend over two opposite sides. Butter the two other sides.
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, Nutella, brown sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with the melted butter.
Scrape the batter into the cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few crumbs attached (not completely clean), 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 2 hours. Unmould and cut into squares.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
These are quite possibly the best brownies I have ever made. Typically, I like a really rich, dark chocolate brownie and rarely veer away to anything lighter. The hazelnut flavor of the Nutella was very obvious, and the hint of cocoa from this feature ingredient added the perfect amount of chocolate-y flavor. That’s not to say these brownies are “light;” with a cup of Nutella (190 calories per 2 tbsp, 100 of those from fat) and an entire stick of melted butter, they are indeed rich.
The recipe states your oven should be set to 325 for 35 to 40 minutes, however my batch needed to hang out for an extra 12 minutes at 330. Granted, I am a baking sinner, and do not own an oven thermometer.
Speaking of sinning… who can possibly wait for 2 hours for brownies to cool? That’s not even fair. An hour, tops, is about how long we held out; even the shortened amount of time was worth the wait. The brownies were perfectly moist and dense, I think partly due to the perfect proportions of Nutella, melted butter and brown sugar.
Snow day number 2 ended with brownie overload, which I refuse to feel guilty about. In fact, I think I went out with a bang. Plus, it’s not often you’re stuck in the house with nothing else to do but cook, bake, eat and drink.
Lucky for me, we’re expecting snow tonight.
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