The Best Brownies We Ever Made

So this has been a week of baking. Maybe since I have little more free time, the kitchen seems more inviting. Or maybe it is because North Texas is downright dreary in January and the kitchen is the warmest place in the house. Whatever the reason, we've been baking! Maisy learned to crack eggs and she has been using her new skills a lot. We made blueberry muffins (from a box mix), banana bread (from this easy recipe), and then we made the best brownies we have ever made. And they were from scratch!

Now before you think, I don't do 'from scratch'-- just know that I usually don't  either. I admit to using slice-n-bake cookies, canned frosting and frozen dinners. But when my sweet little 4 year old asked to make brownies and I didn't have a box mix, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a try. Surprisingly, I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

The brownie recipe is from the "Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes: Cookies!" cookbook. You seriously only need a small bowl, a saucepan, and spoon to assemble these brownies. And they're done in just 35 minutes- start to finish!

"Cocoa Brownies" 
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (these weren't part of the recipe, but really, how can you go wrong with chocolate chips?!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan (or line with foil and then grease). In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs, one at a time, til well blended; add vanilla. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips, if using. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
3. Bake until toothpick comes out almost clean, about 25 minutes.
4. When cool, cute into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 4 pieces.

And no matter what you think, make the frosting! It completes the brownies. I found this recipe on Edie's blog "Life In Grace".  (She has a fabulous brownie recipe too- I just didn't have the hershey syrup on hand, so I went with the GH recipe above.) If you don't read her blog, you are missing out. That woman is amazing and an honest-to-goodness kind person.

6 T butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

1. Melt butter, sugar and milk and boil for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips and vanilla
3. Stir until slightly thickens and spread over brownies.

After I iced them, I popped them into the refrigerator because I personally like chocolate best when it is cold. (Unless it is one of those molten lava cakes-- then I like it hot!) The girls and I came home from church Wednesday night and decided to try just a nibble... and then we realized it might be the best thing we have ever made. And it was from scratch! Sometimes you just want to shout 'taaadaa!' So give it a try this weekend. Then come back here and tell me how amazing it was :)

And my sweet friends, I cannot say enough about your response to Wednesday's post {HERE}. You came out of the woodwork and rallied around me. Emails, texts, comments, phone calls, surprise hugs. I didn't even know that many of you read my blog.  I have to say I was really nervous about that post. I always to try to keep everything on here so positive and pretty. But what do you know-- you don't mind a little 'real imperfection' mixed in! I have a hard time sharing that kind of stuff, but from now on, maybe I will feel a little more comfortable doing so. 

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