I Caved, and Mark Bittman’s Brownies

Dear Joey,

Remember how it was just yesterday that I was telling you how hard I find it to pass up a brownie when it’s sitting there, staring me in the face?

Well, be that as it may, I caved and made a batch today.  (Don’t scold.)

You see, I’ve had chocolate on the brain for the past several days now, as the desserts we’ve had lately haven’t been anywhere near the sort that makes eating it really, truly satisfying. Plus, there were two additional factors at play today that convinced me to go ahead and just make the brownies I wanted so badly.

First: We’re having a meeting with a realtor tonight, here at our house, and whether you agree or not, it’s just good manners to have something sweet to offer him besides the standard fare of decaf coffee or a cup of tea.

Second: There is a cookbook sitting in our living room, one that is supposed to be the cookbook, the one that teaches how to make just about anything one might want to know how to make: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It’s massive, intimidating. It’s sort of an authority in the cookbook world– and I had never heard of it until this week. I checked it out from the library first thing on Monday morning, but as comprehensive as it is, it has been exceedingly difficult to choose just the right recipe to see if it lives up to its promise. This afternoon, I realized that the choice was simple, really: if Mark Bittman gets brownies right, then he probably gets most things right.

Ah, brownies. I know they’re not fancy or terribly special, really, and Lord knows I am hoping against all hope that the realtor isn’t allergic to or disinterested in chocolate. But on a nerve-wracking evening like tonight that could change things dramatically for us (key word, could), I figure it makes good sense to have a good friend around to lend some support, and for me, today, that friend is Mark Bittman’s brownies.

And you, of course.

Love, Scratch

Mark Bittman’s Brownies
These brownies absolutely, hands down, blow their boxed-variety cousins out of the water. I have tried many, many homemade brownie recipes with mixed results, but never have I found one to be so simple to make and yet taste so incredible. They are moist and chewy, not overly rich, and above all else–they satisfy my deep, deep need for a good, chocolatey dessert. 

1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 8×8 glass pan by lining it with aluminum foil and greasing the foil slightly (I used PAM).

Gently melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat. Transfer to a mixing bowl when melted and mixed and add the sugar. Stir.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the flour, vanilla and salt. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes (do not over bake).

Brownie perfection.

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