Boys, Books & Brownies

There are few things that are fairly consistent with a large portion of our current population of teenage boys:

Gasoline explosions, simulating bomb drops at ...

  • They like to eat … a lot.
  • Many enjoy seeing things blow up. (Okay, maybe all of them enjoy seeing things blow up.)
  • They firmly believe the floor is a shelf.
  • They can’t remember checking out a book at the school library, or even the fact that the school has a library.
  • If it’s possible to connect chocolate with any learning experience, they have a greater chance of retaining that experience.

I completely agree with the last statement and make sure that just like with our dog, Haggis, I carry a pocketful of treats at the ready to encourage and reward ideal behavior.

On this particular occasion, I happen to hear noises coming from the pantry. Shuffling, grunting, squeaking of pantry steps and finally sighing.

“Mom? Do we have any cake or brownie mix?” my 13 year old asked.

I snorted. “Who’s house do you think you’re visiting currently?”

“Fine. I want to make something with chocolate in it.”

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I shot him a look of surprise. “You want to bake something?” I had to think quickly. I didn’t want to scare him off like a rare bird that senses the movement of a predator. Maybe I’d already done it by uttering the word bake.

This is a boy who prefers to consume baked goods and does not fuss over what goes into it. I rose from my chair with a slow, hypnotically calm effort. “Brownies are super easy to make.” I used my best Vincent Price voice. He wasn’t bolting.

He paused. “Super easy?”

“And super fast,” I added, while carefully extending a finger to point. “Your sister’s super easy, super fast cookbook is right there on the shelf.”

Once he saw the picture he was hooked.

I snapped a few photos for proof in case anyone needed them because seeing a teenage boy grab a book … from an actual shelf … with the intention to bake food he will eat … and not try to blow up anything … well, this certainly deserves the best chocolate ever. Nothing in my pockets would do.

Here is the proof.

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Here is the pudding.

Classic Dark Chocolate Brownies

(from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking)

6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

¾ cup butter, cut into ¾ inch pieces

3 large eggs

1 ¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350°. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan.

Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler placed over (not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from the over the water and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until blended. Whisk in the chocolate mixture until blended. Sprinkle all of the flour over the mixture and whisk slowly just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 2 inch squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (Ha! Try 3 hours.)

Now don’t forget to head on over to the main post (here) to see what I’m bletherin’ on about this week. And check out what we’re talkin’ bout down at the pub (here) too!


Don't hold back ... Hail and Speak!

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