take two

I am happy to report that the official onset of spring(!) also ushers in the fact that I can bake with chocolate.

It was the best sort of weekend, the sort that makes you feel kind of invincible. (Especially compared to the weekend before that, which was good but left me feeling more vulnerable than invincible.) It was a weekend of no jackets, not even at night, of playing outside, of new cameras. I photographed the hell out of this weekend.

Sundays have been, historically, not great days for me. I get sad about the end of the weekend, the start of another five days in a cubicle. Lately I have been trying to remedy this melancholy, to find ways to brighten up my Sundays. Sometimes it is as simple as remembering that I do, in fact, like time to myself. This particular Sunday I filled with a trip to the library, watching a couple episodes of Rome, and reading Superman: Red Son. (Which is seriously amazing - even if you don't think you like comics, you might like this.)

And so when I sat down to figure out what my Baking Project was going to be, I was feeling pretty good when I arrived at the bookmarked and dogeared pages for brownie recipes. Despite what happened the last time I attempted brownies, I decided to give it another go.

This time, dear reader, it was a smashing success. Granted, I used a different recipe - and, let's be honest, better chocolate - but still, the victory felt pretty good. Every great weekend should end in delicious baked goods.

Moosewood Fudge Brownies
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

A note on the chocolate: I used Ghiradelli's 100% cacao baking bar, and it worked like a charm. Next time I might either use a bar with less cacao or up the sugar a little bit, but honestly, these are great as they are.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square pan. (The original recipe says 8- or 9-inch, but my brownies were already pretty thin in an 8-inch pan. Use your discretion!)

Melt the butter and chocolate together - I use the double-boiler method, except my "double-boiler" is a mixing bowl situated on a pot of barely-simmering water, but if you have a microwave, that is also an option! While they're melting, beat the eggs separately in a small bowl.

When the butter and chocolate have melted together, remove from heat. Add in the brown sugar and vanilla, mixing completely. Repeat with the eggs. Then add in the flour and blend.

Pour the batter into the pan; bake for about 25 minutes. The brownies should start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife should come out clean.

Serve warm with ice cream. Seriously. You will thank me. (These also keep in the fridge for a few days, but take the time to set the oven to 300F and warm them for a few minutes. Mmmm.)

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