Chocolate

The brownie is one bar cookie that is internationally acclaimed as a favorite. Ask anyone if he or she would like a brownie, and seldom will anyone say “no.”

Over the years, the brownie has been used by creative bakers to come up with many other favorites. For those who like to experiment with recipe ideas such as the brownie, just get out your favorite brownie recipe, put on your apron and head to the kitchen. The classic brownie recipe is a good basic recipe from which new culinary ideas can be expressed.

When I was writing “A Treasury of Southern Baking,” published by HarperCollins in 1993, my desire was to include recipes that would be used by both professional bakers as well as those just learning to bake. In order to do this, I decided to have a mini-chapter called “Busy Baker Recipes” behind each regular chapter.

The following Polka Dot Brownie Pie, found in “Busy Baker Pies,” is for those just starting to learn to bake. No matter how simple the recipe is, if it looks good and tastes good, even the novice will be encouraged to try more. Before we know it, some of them might rise to the professional level of baking.

The following recipe for Brownie Fudge Pudding is a little more involved and is probably best for those who have been baking for a longer time.

POLKA DOT BROWNIE PIE

  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup chopped white chocolate (or you can use vanilla chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped, if desired

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Combine sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and salt in large bowl. Beat 3 minutes. Stir in pecans and chopped white chocolate. Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pie. Cool completely on rack before serving. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

NOTE: If a young person is learning to bake, it is probably best to use the vanilla chips instead of having to chop the white chocolate.

BROWNIE FUDGE PUDDING

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup chopped nuts of choice
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine butter, ½ cup sugar, vanilla, flour, 1 tablespoon cocoa, baking powder, salt and milk. Mix well and stir in nuts. In an 8- or 9-inch cake pan at least 2 inches deep, combine remaining ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and the boiling water. Mix well. Drop brownie mixture by tablespoons into cocoa mixture. Bake about 30 minutes.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.

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