Since the 1900s, most cookbooks included a brownie recipe. But if I’m going to be honest, I’ve always used the store-bought brownie mix. It’s easy. You add an egg, oil, water; mix it up and bake. Done. But hey, if kids on the “Food Network” show can make brownies I decided it’s time. Yep, I ditched the box method and made homemade brownies...
Baking moist chocolate brownies from scratch is easy to do. These gooey double chocolate brownies include good heart-healthy ingredients, including cocoa powder, dark chocolate chunks, and walnuts--for American Heart Health Month. Speaking of heart matters, brownies take me back in time of a Tahoe snowy Valentine’s Day…
One morning I was snuggling with a male friend who woke me up with three words, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Then, the phone rang. When I answered the call, a man’s voice said, “I wanted to let you know--I love it.” Those unforgettable words were from my editor. He adored my first book proposal (which I procrastinated doing). The assigned topic was The Healing Powers of Vinegar. “Is that all?” I responded; I think I was in shock because I sounded too chill. After the conversation ended, my pal was AWOL. I was left with my Brittany spaniel to cuddle and celebrate.
Years later, on this year’s Valentine’s Day, I woke up to a contract via email. It was for book number nine in the Healing Powers Series that was ignited by that vinegar book. I rejoiced with a large cup of fresh brewed joe and a brownie I baked the night before. And, of course, my warm-hearted Australian shepherd was within arm’s reach. So, these brownies were inspired by V-Day.
½ cup European style butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ organic chocolate milk
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli premium baking 100% cocoa)
½ cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup dark or milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli) or a bar (small chunks)
½ walnuts, chopped (optional)Confectioners’ sugar
In a bowl, cream soft butters and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and milk. Stir well. Add cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread batter in a buttered 8” by 8” baking dish. In a 350-degree oven bake for about 30 minutes until firm to touch or use the toothpick method (it comes out clean). Cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 2” squares to make 16 brownies. Or use a Valentine shaped cookie cutter and place on brownies. It will make approximately 6-8 larger brownie squares. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Brownie Tips: Using less flour and more baking powder plus a bit of milk makes brownies moister. If you want a decadent brownie you can frost it. Combine ¼ cup European style butter, ½ cup whipped cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more for a thicker consistency). Best if beat with a mixer. Pipe on top of brownies. Place each brownie in a cupcake paper for presentation. Store in refrigerator. Served warm is bliss. Adding fresh berries make this treat more heart-healthy treat to love.