Sure, finding Kenny wasn’t too bad. I was only 25 when we started dating, so I can’t pretend that I had a huge struggle to meet the man of my dreams. But when it comes to recipes, life can be a bit more complicated.
After several years of baking, I’ve honed my go-to recipes. I have my favorite chocolate cake recipe (thanks, back of the Hershey cocoa container!), my favorite chocolate chip recipe, my favorite blondie base, my favorite cheesecake base, and my favorite peanut butter cookie. But let’s not forget the most important one of them all: the perfect brownie base.
If you’re a regular reader, this recipe will look familiar because I use it ALL. THE. TIME. I can’t help it. These are the best brownies, and they are just as easy as using a mix. Why wouldn’t you try them? Especially when I’ve included yet another fun video tutorial right here!
This video thing is getting addictive, by the way. I’m going to have to keep making them. But at some point I’ll also need to get some really good lighting, an agent, and a personal assistant. A girl can dream!
Back to The One. Last week in class, we were discussing the concept of soul mates. With Valentine’s Day just behind us, my creative writing class has been writing love stories. When I asked how many people believed in the construct of that one person, very few kids raised their hands. Then again, kids can be very cynical, especially teenagers. It’s one of the reasons that I find them so entertaining.
I was once talking to a colleague who expressed that while he believes in the idea of The One, he also thinks that we encounter several versions of that person as we progress through our lives. He used that theory as a good reason to not get married. After all, why settle for one soul mate when you can have six or seven?
To be honest, I’ve never been sure about anything so absolute as the idea of just one soul mate. Is Kenny my soul mate? No doubt. Would he have been my soul mate if I’d grown up in Russia instead, or would I have met a different soul mate nearer to home? These thoughts don’t keep me up at night or anything, but the fact that so many people meet their intended spouses in college is a pretty good argument for true love being partly a matter of convenience.
In other words, I know very few people who have combed the globe to find their intended ones. We’re not lazy, but we’re probably too busy to go searching. Anyone got a dramatic love story for me? Just because Valentine’s is over does not mean that we have to stop talking love. Let me know!
And speaking of love stories, these brownies are it. I made these once and never went back. It takes a lot of arm-twisting for me to make another brownie recipe. Why?
The best reason ever: these are EASY. They come together in less than five minutes (the video doesn’t lie!) and they’re very happy being customized however you like. This time it was peanut butter M &Ms. Next time it might be peanut butter cups. Or something without peanut butter entirely. I’ve got range!
Who knows if finding the perfect brownie recipe is easier or harder than finding the perfect partner? I seriously am not sure. All I know is that it took me longer to find this recipe than it took me to marry Kenny, so draw your own conclusions. But for now, make you some brownies. It’s true love!
1 cup peanut butter M & Ms (as shown, or other mix-ins as desired)
Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8 X 8 pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cocoa into the melted butter until it dissolves. Add the sugar and stir again. When the sugar is incorporated, mix in the vanilla and eggs. Add the salt and flour, mixing until just combined. Stir in the M & Ms.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and press additional M &Ms into the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until done.
Remove the brownies from the oven and cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.
I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner.
This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker.
Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.
Being a social butterfly and all, I get invited places with some degree of frequency. And when I’m attending a party or gathering at someone’s house, it’s pretty likely I’ll be asked to bring dessert.
I guess it makes sense. After all, I’m the dessert girl. But every now and then, could I bring a bottle of tequila instead? Sharing is caring, ya know.
Oh, well. When I’m asked last-minute to bring a dessert somewhere, an old faithful recipe is the one to save me every time. No, I’m not talking about passing off slice and bake as my own, though that’s tempting. I’m talking about an easy bar cookie. These blondies are chewy, thick, easily customized and, most important, fast.
My middle daughter is quite a diva. At age four, she is already demanding in ways I never remember being.
I was doing her hair the other day and she asked for me to do it “just like Elsa’s.” I swear to all the powers above, Frozen is doing me in. My hair is turning gray from that movie alone and how addicted my kids are to it. Anyway, no matter what I did to her hair, she continued to insist that it didn’t look right. I mean, duh. She has shoulder-length dirty blonde curly hair. Elsa has waist-length platinum flowy masses of Pantene commercial hair.
But try explaining that to a preschooler. To say she threw a tantrum would be an understatement.
She’s also been planning her fourth birthday party with way too much intricate detail. Have I mentioned she has two themes? Hello Kitty and (duh again) Frozen. Luckily, when it comes to party prep, I actually bake enough to satisfy her. And these cinnamon crunch bars are all part of the pre-party baking binge!
When I was a kid, people didn’t worry about raw cookie dough. So I happily licked the beaters, knowing in my soul that eating batter was the best part of baking anything. But then the dark forces moved in and exposed the dangers of eating cookie dough.
I know a lot of people aren’t afraid. But me, I live in fear. I get nervous around fire and water, I wash my hands obsessively during flu season, and I always wait for the walk sign before crossing the street. Eating raw cookie dough used to be absolutely taboo. Until, of course, everyone realized it was possible to have your dough and eat it, too. Just don’t put in the egg, add condensed milk, and you’re good to go!