All-Time Brownie Lover
I’m a Brownie lover from waaay back, even when they’re covered with hormigas.
I’ve baked them in whatever country I’ve lived, simply adapting whatever my current recipe was to whatever ingredients were available locally. It’s been a staple offering for visitors, too. Easy. Quick. Adaptable. My kind of dessert.
I don’t think I need to be quite so honest, though, about the events I hosted with my brownies as my specialty dessert. I remember once I invited a few very posh mothers and their daughters to my apartment. The girls attended my third-grade class. The occasion has long since faded but one incident during that visit remains indelibly etched in my memory.
The moms and I were chatting in the living room and I excused myself to set the brownies out to cool in the kitchen, then returned to chat some more. The girls, bored with the adult chatter, wandered back into the kitchen. I had a typical open-area wall with holes between the diagonal bricks. Unbeknownst to me, the ants caught the sweet scent and headed straight for my brownies on the counter! Of course, the girls noticed.
They rushed back into the living room and over to me, pulling at me urgently to go back into the kitchen. ”There are umm, hormigas all over your brownies. ¡Mira!”
My eyes followed their pointing fingers and saw quite a few ants had indeed found a treat. But, I had nothing else to offer. I turned to my students, put my finger to my lips. “Shhhhh.”
There are hormigas, um, moving all over your brownies. ¡Mira!“
The students watched me, fascinated, as I brushed the ants off the brownies as best I could, knocking off the more persistent ones even as I opened the refrigerator door and slid the baking dish inside. I’ll freeze ‘em and then brush ‘em off again. I had to offer something and I had nothing else ready. I gave the wide-eyed girls a warning look that clearly meant, This is our secret. I shook my head and put an imagnary lock on my lips. They mimicked me, locking their own lips as they followed me into the living room, still giggling. They sat beside their mothers and we continued to chat.
At an appropriate interval, I returned to the kitchen and checked the brownies. Theg girls scuttled after me. I brushed the top layer off and decided that they looked perfectly fine. I handed a round-mesh strainer to one of the girls and had another girl spoon confectionery sugar into the strainer. Covered with a fine sprinkling of confection, they looked quite elegant. I cut them evenly into squares and served them on my best clay plates.
No one was the wiser.
… until one little girl giggled and said, “Teacher no body know about the hormigas in the brownies. ¿Verdad? True? The room suddenly became silent and she realized she had revealed our secret.
Teacher, no body know about the hormigas in the brownies. ¿Verdad?” True?
“¿Perdón?” asked one mom, nearly choking.
The little girl covered her mouth with her hands.
“You’re so silly,” I said, laughing breezily and giving her an affectionate little hug. “¿Unas hormigas aqu¡ en este apartamento? No es posible. Tranquila.” Ants in this apartment? It’s not possible. Don’t worry.
The talk flowed to other topics and Carla, the girl who accidentally betrayed our secret, gave me the thumbs up at the end of the visit.
I imagine the girls immediately cued their mothers in on what I had done as soon as they left my place. But I knew I’d chosen the best way to handle the ant issue. What else could I have done? (Note: probably not a good message to pass on to students: “Cover your mistakes, girls!” literally with coconfectionery sugar, now that I think about it. On the other hand, “Make whatever you have, work” is a great lesson!)
The mothers remained friendly with me and the girls periodically shook their fingers at me, giggling as they reminded me of mi pecadillo (my little sin) that served to bind us together.
My mother, on the other hand, was horrified that I would ever do such a thing.
Like I said, I shouldn’t be so open about my food adventures.
Brownies. My favorite dessert. No matter what.
Now I want to share an easy recipe for Brownies that I use today. There’s no danger of ants invading the brownies in my American apartment, don’t worry. But the caveat is that nowadays, I need to adapt my method of cooking to better suit my vision-impaired needs.
I found the recipe on the Internet a year or so ago at Kraft.Baker’s One-Bowl Brownies. Just a couple of ingredients, a few minutes of mixing, toss it in the oven and cook. Voila, great tasting brownies made from scratch! I heard my brother once say, “Nobody makes brownies from scratch today. But my sister does–and she can’t even see that well. ” They were a hit!
Let me share the recipe and how anyone can make them, even a vision-impaired person.
Baker’s One-Bowl Brownies
8 squares of non-sweetened baker’s chocolate (I use semi-sweet)
3 /4 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 c nuts (optional)
The recipe calls for a 9 x 11 greased baking pan. I use the next size smaller dish and it has worked out well. The recipe recommends lining the pan with aluminium foil, leaving a few extra inches at the top and bottom and spraying it with an olive-oil PAM (any will do).
1. Melt the baker’s chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe dish for 2 minutes.
2. Stir the mixture and again and pour it into a larger bowl–best centered on the counter with lots of space around it for me in the event I miss the bowl. (I once had it near the edge of the counter and couldn’t see the edge of the bowl so all my batter went into an open drawer!).
3. Add the sugar (I reduce it to 1 1/2 c since I use semi-sweet chocolate), eggs and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
4. Add in 1 cup flour. I have the cups hanging nearby so I can tell which is which by feel.
5. Pour into the pan (again nicely centered on the counter) and place in the oven. I have two bump dots on 350 degrees F. Cook for 25 minutes. I use a talking timer to let me know when the brownies are finished.
6. Remove the brownies and let cool for thirty minutes – if you can wait that long.
7. Cutting the brownies is easy. Turn the baking dish over on the counter (again, centered!) and lift the pan off. The foil will be at the top. Carefully peel the foil off and cut the brownies into squares with a regular knife. No sharp knives needed!
If you post helped motivate you to cook, entertained or offered you valuable insights, take a moment to share it with others you think would benefit from it! And if you try the brownies, let me know what you think of them!