So......it has been a busy job of getting back to business after the Christmas holiday. There has been as always...lots to do and lots of things on the go. I will confess, that my Christmas tree is still up...hoping to get to that today. Yesterday, after coming home at the end of a 'too busy' week.....I walked into the house and collapsed on the couch to grab a moment of rest. Fortunately there were left overs for everyone to eat so I did not have to make dinner....just as well as I was beat. Sadly I only managed to rest for maybe an hour before the 24 hour flu my son seemed to be suffering from kicked into high gear. Poor little guy. This morning he seems to have turned it around and it looks as though he will be able to keep down some food.
I grabbed a nice cup of tea and some toast this morning only to notice that the pan of brownies I made the other day was down to its' last slice. So I grabbed a picture of it because once everyone is up and about....it won't stand a chance. I was looking for something to bring to the PAC meeting at the school two days ago and decided to try this recipe. Unfortunately, they did not cool quickly enough for me to take them to the meeting.....so we had to eat them. Well, they turned out fabulously and I will most definitely make them again. I did make a slight substitution as they called for Port Soaked dried Cherries.....which I am sure would be fabulous......but I just happened to have a jar of vodka soaked cranberries sitting on my counter that needed to be used up. I had used the other half of the jar in a pound cake recipe some time ago.....now I finally finished the jar. They were delicious and as rich and fudgy as the recipe claimed it would be......and there was only cocoa powder in the recipe.....so no need for melted chocolate. Some times, this is an issue for me, and it is nice to know that I have a nice fudgy brownie recipe to turn to in my hour of need when there is no chocolate to be found. I was too lazy to try the delicious looking recipe for the ganache icing provided in the recipe....but let me assure you....this recipe is delicious enough to disappear in a day without the frosting....it really doesn't need it!!! Whether you include the booze soaked fruit or opt to add nuts or nothing at all....this is a great browning recipe to keep on hand for those times when you don't have any chocolate kicking around to make brownies. These were so very good and easy...I hope you'll give them a try. Just be sure to remove them from the oven before over baking them. As an added note...in addition to the cherry substitution I mentioned above......I was also out of butter so I used margarine.....and I only had Dutch processed cocoa...which I used rather than the natural cocoa called for....and it still turned out fabulously:)Rich and Fudgy Brownies
1 cup unsalted butter, and more to grease the pan
2/3 cup flour, more to flour the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Port soaked Cherries (optional see recipe below)
Port Ganache Topping (optional see recipe below)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a nine inch square pan (I would recommend lining with parchment if you have it).
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, cocoa, and baking powder slowly so as not to have it come flying out of the pan. Stir more quickly as it become incorporated. Stir until uniform...this should only take about a minute. Add in the Port soaked cherries at this time if you are adding them....along with any liquid from the pan. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted 3/4 inch deep into the center of the pan comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it. This will be about 40 minutes. ( I start testing after 30 minutes and wait until there is no wet batter clinging to the toothpick) Remove pan and set on rack to cool completely. If topping with the ganache, spread it evenly over the cooled brownies and let sit 1 hour before slicing. The topping will still be quite gooey. Keep covered at room temp for 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
Port Soaked Cherries
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (or whole dried cranberries)
1/2 cup tawny port
In a small sauce pan bring the cherries and port to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cool for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
1/2 cup tawny port
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the port to a boil. Boil until the port is reduced to 2 Tbsp. This should take 3 to 6 minutes. Pour it into a small cup or bowl. Rinse the pan well and bring heavy cream to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from the heat. Stir in chopped chocolate and reduced port until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate melted. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl ina cool area stirring occasionally. When cooled spread over the cooled brownies, and let set up one hour before slicing.