Brownies to Cure All Ills

So the other weekend I stopped at the laundromat and put my clothes in the washing machine.  I then went to my office and worked for a few hours.  I then returned to the laundromat and discovered that my clothes were not in the washing machine that I placed them into.  WHAT!?!  Why wouldn’t my clothes be in the washing machine?  Not once have I walked in and found all of the washing machines in use, so where the hell were my clothes?  I went to a few of the other front loading machines to see if someone decided to relocate my clothing, no such luck.  I was about to go down the next aisle of machines…yeah, that is right, in my head someone not only relocated my laundry, but carried it to another row.  The only other person in the place smiled nicely at the lunatic racing around trying to find her clean clothing.  I turned the corner and saw that someone must have really needed my machine and took my clothes out of it and put them in a basket-cart thingy.  Ooookay, I can live with that, I think.  A little disturbing that a stranger touched my underwear, but I might be able to get over it.  Thinking the situation back to normal, I started throwing my clothes into a dryer.  I noticed that the load seemed a little light, and that my favorite jeans were missing.  The situation was not normal, it was quickly turning into one of those nightmares that you wake up from and find yourself in a new nightmare.  I tried talking rationally to myself, but it wasn’t easy.  I have an irrational fear of the laundromat to begin with.  In my head, it always turns into a Criminal Minds episode, and not one where I fall into Shemar Moore’s arms either.  This wasn’t quite that bad, but I really do love those jeans.  I cast about the room looking for my missing pants.  Luckily, the nice smiling lady had moved to the restroom, so there were no witnesses to my madness.  I thought that the stranger who touched my underwear may have used two basket-carts so I went to that side of the room…no such luck.  As I was passing the chair that held the coat of the nice smiley lady, I happened to look down and saw a grocery bag with some clothes in it.  Normally, I would be loath to touch the belongings of a stranger, but I really love those jeans and there was a pair of jeans in the bag that seemed very similar in color to mine.  This was not a coincidence, as I found not only my jeans, but my Badger t-shirt and a pair of my gray slacks.  I stole my clothes back and threw them in the dryer.  I then realized that when the nice smiling lady came out of the bathroom she was going to know that I knew that she stole my clothes.  Not wanting her to then shank me, I left, but stayed in my car to watch my dryer in case the clothes thief acted again.  Not sure how I was going to bust her ass, but luckily she did not attempt to re-offend.  I cannot tell you how much this incident has worked its way into my, admittedly, already damaged psyche.

Short story made long, some moments in life require the ultimate comfort food…in my mind brownies.  These are not just any brownies, these are my “Barry White Brownies”.  Called thus because they are deep, rich and chocolatey..plus after eating one you want to have a cigarette and tell me how amazing I am.  They are almost as quick and easy as a box mix, so even if your hands are shaking from bravely confronting the laundromat, you should be able to whip them right up.  Please feel free to comment and let me know what crisis these brownies would comfort you from!

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Barry White Brownies

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoons strong coffee
  • 5 ounces (about 10 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces (about 1 ¼ cup) sugar
  • 3 ounces (just over ¾ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ ounces (about ½ cup) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips-I like to use Ghiradelli

 

Directions:

  1. Position rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 325° F.  Line a 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil (you could also use parchment paper).
  2.  Brew a pot, if you like to drink it, or a small amount of strong coffee.  If you don’t have a brewer, making a small amount of strong instant coffee will do.
  3. Add the butter, cocoa powder, sugar and salt to a medium sized microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for one minute, stir.  If not completely melted, continue microwaving for 30 second intervals stirring in between, until thoroughly mixed.  The mixture will not be smooth, but grainy.
  4. Set aside for a few minutes if necessary until it is warm, but not hot, to the touch.  This will prevent the eggs from cooking when you add them.
  5. By hand, stir in the vanilla and the coffee.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
  7. Once the eggs have been completely incorporated, and the mixture looks shiny and thick, add the flour until mixed completely.  Beat vigorously for another 35 strokes.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until they are evenly mixed into the batter.
  8. Spread the brownie batter evenly in the lined pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely on the rack before cutting.  Your best bet is to lift out the brownies using the foil and put on a cutting board.
  10. Enjoy

Caramel, Chocolate, Nutty Heaven

**Warning** The dessert described in this post is habit-forming.  Please consult your physician before undertaking any new diet.  This holds especially true if you decide to substitute all food for these dessert bars.  Betty Ford has not yet addressed the issue, although Jennie Craig might be able to assist with the aftermath.  And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Come to Mommy

Come to Mommy

About 18 years ago, I started my very first grown up job in an office for a large electrical contractor.  During my employment there, I was introduced to the recipe that I am sharing today.  One of the retired electricians had a very generous wife, Donna.  Donna would kindly bring us these dessert bars whenever we called and whined enough at her.  Till one day, she stopped.  It was devastating.  The last dessert bars were delivered with a note telling us that she was retiring with her husband, and if we wanted to have dessert bars, we could make them ourselves.  Man, talk about harsh!  It felt like grandma had disowned us.  At least she included the recipe.  Unfortunately, at this time in my life, I was not the domestic goddess (ha!) that I am today.  I did not grab the recipe.  Fortune has a way of taking care of fools like me.  Several years later, my dad started dating my old boss, and she was smart enough to have taken the recipe.

This recipe is easy and faster than it looks, really the longest part is unwrapping the caramels.  Enjoy!

Candy Bar Cookies:

Ingredients:

14 ounces caramels (about 50), unwrapped

2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided

1 box German chocolate cake mix

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts, divided

1 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Melt caramels with 1/3 cups evaporated milk, stirring occasionally, until melted
  • Preheat oven to 350°, grease a 13×9 inch pan
  • Combine cake mix, butter, vanilla, 1/3 evaporated milk, 1 cup walnuts
  • Spread half of the resulting batter into the cake pan and bake for 8 minutes
  • Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crust that has formed
  • Pour warm caramel evenly over the chocolate chips
  • Sprinkle the second half of the batter over the caramel (Don’t worry if it doesn’t cover it all) and top with 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Cool in pan and the refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the caramel to set
  • Cut into bars and try to only eat one, I dare you

To Hell with Prince Charming Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Carriage

Day two of kitchen based therapy…One recipe down and one pathetic email sent to human cigarette.  Too soon to tell if the therapy is working.  In honor of the Halloween season, and “cause me ont to”, as my nephew would say, I am making pumpkin bars.  What could be a more appropriate way to say goodbye to a prince charming than to take the pumpkin and bake it rather than turn it into a carriage to race off to a ball?  Besides they taste yummy and I owe the work guinea pigs for putting up with my mood lately.  The recipe came from my friend Susan who got it from the folks at Miracle Whip.

Special thanks to my dear friend Nick who has a smart phone and could take a picture when I forgot.  He is as thoughtful as he is witty.  Ladies, he is also single and can be found bartending at Nardo’s Passport Inn.

Pumpkin Spice Bars
Ingredients for cake:

3 eggs
1 package spice cake mix
1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup Miracle Whip

Ingredients for frosting:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A dash of cinnamon

Directions:
For the cake. Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix all ingredients on medium speed until well blended.  Pour into greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting: Blend all ingredients with electric mixer on low-speed until moistened.  Beat on high until light and fluffy.  Spread over cake and enjoy!