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The Perfect Brownie Base
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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.
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I never used to. I honestly never felt much pain at all in my now squandered youth. But these days, this persistent and quite literal pain in my neck just pops up most mornings and reminds me of my mortality. If I try to stretch it out or massage it, people just look at me funny. And since my mornings start with tons of students, it’s better to leave well enough alone.
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When did I start baking? I can trace it back to my junior year of college.
I’ll get into why in a minute, but I was pretty much hooked from the start. What could be more amazing than dreaming of a dessert and then creating it? Sure, back then I needed recipes (I was very reliant on them), but it was still a lot of fun to cook in my crappy dorm kitchen.
These brownies are the first ones I ever baked from scratch, and the first baked good I ever added my own spin to. I used to call them “candy bar brownies” because they are very much like that. Rich, fudgy brownies are filled with peanut butter and milk chocolate chips, with a thick layer of the same on top. They’re crazy addictive!
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Nosebleeds can really interfere with your dignity.
I was teaching yesterday when all of my students started giving me this funny look. It took me a second longer to realize that blood was freely gushing out of my nose (I’m a very enthusiastic bleeder). Like the cool teacher I am, I grabbed the tissues and kept on talking about Nick and Gatsby and Daisy. But honestly, with literal blood on my hands, I don’t think I recovered very well. There went that class. I’ll do better next time.