Friday, January 20, 2012

TV and Brownies

I've been indulging lately in two unhealthy habits; TV and brownies.  Typically, I don't watch that much television.  Okay, I should correct that; I don't watch much "grown-up" TV.  I do have a strong familiarity with all things Nick Jr. and PBS Kids Go.  My husband and I only have a few shows we like to watch together, so in the evenings we may watch one or two episodes after the kids are tucked in, and then I will either read or head up to bed (I live an exciting life, can't you tell?).

Last week was just off, however.  We started the actual painting of the first floor.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, "how much harder is it to paint a room with two little ones underfoot?" the answer is "exponentially harder."  Sickness and the general running around we did to avoid working out of necessity, prolonged the project and it is still far from being complete.  Chaos had come for a visit, unpacked its suitcase, and was already leaving its dirty laundry on the floor and bossing me about in the kitchen.  The few hours I spent watching TV in the evenings were a welcome escape.

Why do I get so invested in television shows that were canceled after just one or two seasons?  Most recently it was Eli Stone, but Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies are on this same list.  I should know better, since I'm going into it aware that they were dropped.  Story lines do not get resolved, or are unsatisfactorily so.  Then after I've finished all there is of the series, I am left with a nagging, robbed feeling; and in this last case, a small crush on Jonny Lee Miller.

And the brownies, well, what can I say except, I love brownies.  This is another creation from Yvette Van Boven's Home Made.  I'm not going to lie, I exhibited some cultural prejudices and attempted this recipe with some hesitation.  Overseas, I had a lot of brownies from European bakeries.  They were light and wonderfully chocolaty, but they were more like cakes, not brownies.  I like chewy, fudgy squares that have crinkly tops and edges.  Van Boven has made me eat my words about European brownies.  Her recipe may even surpass Ina Garten's recipe and my go-to brownie.

Chewy Chocolate Raisin Brownies adapted from Home Made by Yvette Van Boven

I am not entirely sure my brownies came out as she intended.  I did not use self-rising flour, and I am sure my eggs and sugar were not whipped to "a light, airy foam."  Still, I have trouble imagining how the result could be improved upon.  They are moist and chewy with a delicious salty note.  Next time I am going to add hazelnuts and make my own "fruit and nut" brownie.

*Note: To make your own self-rising flour: add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to one cup of flour.  You can make a bunch to have on hand and use in recipes as directed.

1 1/4 sticks of butter, cubed
8 oz semi sweet chocolate, in chunks (I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet morsels)
2 eggs
2/3 + 2 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup self-rising flour, sifted *see note above
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate covered raisins

Preheat your oven to 340 degrees and grease or butter and flour a 8" x 8" baking pan

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler.(I find using a double boiler easier and there is less potential for mess.) Remove it from the heat and leave to cool.  Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until the mixture is light in color and thick and foamy.  If you are doing this by hand it should take about 5 minutes with a wire whisk.  Gradually fold the chocolate into the the egg-sugar mixture.  Fold in your  self-rising flour, and add a generous pinch of salt.  Lastly, add the raisins.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely and then cut into pieces.

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