Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Brownies!

Happy Valentine's Day to all you blog readers out there!! Hope you're all enjoying the day and able to spend it with family and friends whom you love! :) I promise that I won't chat too long during this post. I'll get right to the point!

And the point is? To share a delicious homemade brownie recipe with you! Over the last few years, the recipe I'm about to share with you has become my go-to "from scratch" brownie recipe...and by from scratch, I simply mean not from a boxed brownie mix! This recipe uses ingredients that I always have on hand, so I can whip up a batch of these brownies on a moment's notice. And that's very important, wouldn't you agree?!

The recipe can be found here, on Nestle Toll House's Very Best Baking site, a wonderful site with many delicious recipes! These "Easy Double Chocolate Chip Brownies," as Nestle calls them, couldn't be simpler. The recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter or margarine, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla extract, and baking soda. That is all!! The recipe gets 5 stars on the Nestle website too. There is a reason, folks! These are some darn good brownies. I love this recipe so much that I've used it for other items I've made like my Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies, Grasshopper Brownies, and Creme de Menthe Bars. This is a basic brownie recipe you'll want to keep, I promise.

Now, onto the steps involved and some pictures too!

First of all, you melt the chocolate chips and butter (or margarine) on the stove...

Once that's fully melted, it comes off the heat and you add the remaining ingredients, beginning with the eggs.

Finally, once that mixture is well-incorporated, you add in some more chocolate chips as well as nuts (if you'd like). I've never actually added nuts to this recipe; although some people might call me a nut ;-), I'm not a huge fan of nuts in brownies. The recipe calls for adding in an additional cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of nuts. What I love about this recipe is that at this stage, you can be creative with your add-ins! If you want to keep the recipe more traditional, you can add regular semi-sweet chocolate chips. Orrrrr, you can add just about anything else you'd like! You can add baking chips of different flavors like peanut butter, butterscotch, white chocolate, milk or dark chocolate, Andes mint chips, etc. You could add toffee bits or chopped candy bars (Snickers or Kit Kats or whatever!). The possibilities are endless...really they are. ;-)

For this particular time I made these brownies, I was actually in the mood to add white chocolate for a change! I added about 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

The mixture is then evenly poured into a greased 13 x 9 pan and popped into the oven.

Voila! You've got yourself a delicious pan of homemade brownies. ;-)

Now, since it's Valentine's Day, I decided not to cut your traditional, square-shaped brownies. So what did I do instead? I made heart-shaped brownies using a cookie cutter! So fun and so easy. It's a great way to make your dessert a tad more festive!

Note: I removed the brownies from the pan (they came out really easily!) before cutting them with the cookie cutter. I lucked out when I flipped the 13 x 9 pan because the whole pan of brownies came out without breaking at all! If I had been thinking better ahead of time though, I think I would have lined the pan with foil before pouring in the batter so that I could have easily just lifted the brownies out. Oh well - next time! By the way, using a non-square cookie cutter like this made for brownie "scraps" since the heart shape obviously wasn't even! The scraps are yummy when you need just a small taste of chocolate...and I'm thinking they'd also be yummy on top of a bowl of ice cream. Definitely not throwing those guys out!

Isn't that a fun heart plate? My mom recently gave me a number of festive plates for various holidays so that I can have fun plates for your viewing pleasure on the blog. :) Thanks, Mom!!

I made one big brownie that Mike and I will share for Valentine's dessert tonight!

After the brownie "photo shoot," I decided to use the plate as a candy dish. :)

Enjoy the rest of the holiday, friends!

 ♥ With love from the Barbershop ♥

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