The Baked Brownie, rich fudgy goodness.

I am a brownie connoisseur.  I LOVE them.  However, since starting Weight Watchers I no longer indulge in brownies that are made the regular way.  For myself I find low fat low sugar alternatives.  But I still like baking things the “regular” way, and it is a good thing for me that I have three people in my house that enjoy eating them! (the teenaged boys of course).  So I was looking up Brownie recipes and came across one called the Baked Brownie.  Apparently a bakery in New York City called Baked developed these brownies which have been replicated and made by America’s Test Kitchen as well as Oprah and the Today Show.  They are apparently Oprah’s “favorite” brownie.  With those kind of endorsements how could I not try them?  So into the kitchen I went, and here is the result.

The Baked Brownie

Yield: 24 brownies Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over-beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

And here are the pictures:

Ingredients for brownies.
Ingredients for brownies.

It is important that the eggs are room temperature, so put them out for about 30 minutes prior to starting to bake.

Chocolate, espresso granules, and butter melting in double boiler
Chocolate, espresso granules, and butter melting in double boiler

 

Melted chocolate
Melted chocolate after adding sugars

 

 

Melted chocolate, adding eggs.
Melted chocolate, adding eggs.

 

dry ingredients into melted chocolate.
dry ingredients into melted chocolate.

It is very important that you FOLD the dry ingredients into the chocolate so the brownies are dense and fudgy.

ready to go in baking pan
ready to go in baking pan

NOTE:  I actually folded too much.  When done you should still see a few streaks of flour in batter.

 

Ready to go in the oven
Ready to go in the oven

 

Decadence on a plate!  Enjoy!!
Decadence on a plate! Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

Plump is not a 4 letter word.

I have a confession to make.

I am plump.

I am okay with it.

I work out 3-4 times EVERY week.  Without fail.  That just seems to be my routine.  Knowing that, you might think…….wow, she works out 3-4 times every week.  I bet she is svelte, thin, healthy, looks great in a swimsuit, or some other wonderful compliment…..  Well, for those of you who don’t know me, NOTHING could be further from the truth, and for those of you who do know me, it is probably a shocker that I work out so much and am still so…. (well, lets just keep it real)…….so pudgy.  I know, I know……I am a pudgy lady  Sometimes to make myself feel better I say “thick”, or “fluffy”, or “voluptuous”, but the truth is I am just plump.

fat prejusice

I read an amazing post about just this very thing this week about being a Plus Sized Princess.   It is an amazing post and a wonderful concept.  I applaud CeCe for writing this post and she really made me think!! While I don’t have PCOS, I have struggled with my weight forever it seems.

This is a battle I have been fighting my ENTIRE life.  I kid you not.  I am going to tell you my diet saga.  If any of these diets apply to you, just keep track, make a little tic on a piece of paper, we can compare notes later.  When I was a teenager I was not plump, but I wanted to be more slender.  My mother was always doing weight watchers, and she would help me plan weight watchers meals.  Anyone else ever have those oh so lovely weight watchers “tuna pizza on a english muffin”?  Or how about tuna with melba toast?  Okay, so then when I was a young adult I lived on salad and went to the gym every day for an hour. Not only did I want to be slender, but I was in the Navy and had to maintain weight standards.  And let me tell you, Navy weight standards are NOT made for girls with an hourglass shape.  They are made for girls with small hips, more of a “boyish”, or “athletic”  shape .

Me in 2003.  Plump even then.
Me in 2003.

Now don’t get me wrong, in my 20’s I was a hot mama, and turned heads, I had an hourglass figure that could stop traffic…and maintained Navy weight standards……..but at what cost?  I ate so poorly and worked out for an hour 6 days a week.  I was obsessed with weight loss.

Move on to other diets I have tried…(get your pencil and paper ready)…..cabbage soup diet, Jenny Craig, Scarsdale diet, Atkins diet (I did this one before it was “in” so the food tasted like cardboard and was very expensive), the Zone diet, the citrus fruit diet, the “eat all you want of one kind of food” diet, the Mediterranean diet, and others I have simply forgotten about.  Some of them worked, for awhile, but I got tired of always restricting and counting and being SOOOO careful!  In those years I got married, had two babies, got divorced, moved many times, had many various life changing events, and just couldn’t keep up with each diet.

Four years ago my younger brother Brian died of a massive heart attack.  He had been overweight for many years, and had high blood pressure and diabetes, and coronary heart disease.  My father died on Christmas Day 2010.  He was 70.  When he died, he was older than any other male in his family for at least 5 generations.  He had a great healthy heart, he took care of himself.  For him it was a stroke that killed him.  But because there were so many heart attacks in his family particularly with the males, he was very careful with his health, especially his cardiac health.

After Brian died, I decided it really was time to make sure my heart was healthy.  So I joined a gym and started going 3-4 times every week. I hoped I would lose weight while getting my body healthy, but alas, that was not to be. However, on the positive side, my heart is healthy.  My cholesterol is good, my blood pressure is good, and my sugar is good.  So, I may be plump, but I am a damn healthy plump woman.  I have been doing Weight Watchers for about 6 months.  I eat foods in moderation. I eat vegetables, meats, fruits, and yes sweets.

love yourself

So my point to all of this is that in my opinion it is okay to be a healthy plump person.  I would rather have a healthy heart and be plump than be skinny and have an unhealthy heart.

Thank goodness Bluebell agrees.

The time I left my kid at church!

I think I am a pretty good mom.  A responsible woman.  I didn’t have my first child until I was 31.  Not because I planned it that way, but because it just kind of worked out that way.  I had plenty of relationships, I just never envisioned myself having children with any of those people. Finally I met a man who I wanted to have children with.  That was when I was 28.  So, the first pregnancy occurred at 30 and Joe Cool was born was born when I was 31.  The Genius was my “surprise” bundle of joy.  I wanted to wait four years between my pregnancies, but a carefree birthday evening when I turned 32 brought me my sweet Genius.

Joe Cool and The Genius when they were 6 and 4
Joe Cool and The Genius when they were 6 and 4

I bought and read all of the “What to Expect” books.  “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, “What to Expect the First Year”, “What to Expect the Second Year”, etc, etc.  I bought healthy baby food.  I didn’t let my babies have chocolate the first year.  I let my babies “cry it out” to self soothe and go to sleep.  I was never afraid to hold and cuddle them “too much”. They had their own rooms with consumer report approved cribs and changing tables.  I had the best car seats, bedding and toys.

I took the boys to the doctor, dentist, played with them, read to them, had gender neutral toys (trucks as well as doll houses).  I was a “good” mom.  I introduced new foods, one at a time, bought them age appropriate toys, in short everything the books told me to do, I did. They were happy, and well behaved (for the most part).  They loved each other, and all was well in the world.
I am telling you all of this so you know what a good mother I am.

ready to get some candy
ready to get some candy

Because even the lofty can fall from their perch.

Fast forward about 9 years.  Joe Cool is now 14 and The Genius is 11. I am a very busy mom with three boys at home, (Bluebell also has a teenaged son at home with us).  I work two part time jobs, I blog, and I am a part time college student.  My life is hectic and my brain is scattered at times.  One of my jobs is as a Youth Coordinator at the local Unitarian Universalist Church.  As part of that job every other year I coordinate a very large program for 13 year olds that is a  “Coming of Age” program.  I look at it as the Unitarian Universalist version of catechism and Confirmation.

The day has come for our big church program to honor the kids in the program (of which Joe Cool is one), and we get through the service with success. Many tears of joy were shed by me that day.

Immediately after the Coming of Age service I stay at church to attend a semiannual church meeting, then I have to rush off to pick up a cake for the party to honor the kids that evening!  FULL schedule.

After the service Bluebell took Joe Cool and The Hunter home, and then came back to attend the Church meeting with me.  The Genius wanted to stay at church during the meeting because the kids were watching “Despicable Me” in the Sunday School classrooms while the adults attended the meeting.

Bluebell and I attended the meeting, which became just a tiny bit intense, (budget discussions), and after the meeting ended I drove Bluebell to her vehicle in a nearby parking lot and jetted off to pick up the cake for the Coming of Age Celebration.  Meanwhile, Bluebell headed home to pick up Joe Cool to take him to the Coming of Age Party.

Okay, at this point in the story you need to remember what a responsible, caring mother I am.  How I pampered and cared for my babies.  The joyous pictures I shared.  How happy and healthy my boys look.  Do you have that planted in your brain??  Do you see what a great mother I am??  Good.  So now I can tell you that in my scattered brain, and my rush to go get the cake, and get to the party, I left the church……..

without The Genius..

Yes….I left my kid behind.  I forgot him……

Bluebell realized we left The Genius when she was about 1/2 way home and immediately called me.  Well, friends, I didn’t answer my phone………. “why not” you ask?  Well, because I left my phone at the church too.  I just got up and left my phone and my kid.  So when Bluebell called me, a nice lady at church (I shall call her “S”) answered my phone and after a few minutes of conversation, the two of them figured out it was my phone.  “S” asks Bluebell what she should do with my phone, and Bluebell tells  “S” to give my phone to The Genius, because not only did I leave my phone, I left our kid…….

Before I get judged too harshly, at least I left our kid at church, where he was safe and dry and cozy.  With people who know him and love him.  Where he felt comfortable………… okay, I know, I know, I am just trying to make myself feel better…

I guess the moral of my story is that even “good” moms, can goof up at times……

Oh well, at least it makes for a funny story… ♥