Sammy the Seal

Cherry brownies, peanut butter icing

In delicious on Sunday, 17 July, 2011 at 22:00

It’s belated recipe time once again, though only by two days. I’m not much of a choco person, but this was for a birthday. Also, it’s good to stretch outside your comfort zone and make things that you wouldn’t normally eat, since it can’t always be about you. Cooking/baking with empathy, it’s called. So, this was pulled directly from a recipe book, the combination with peanut butter was joint inspiration.

3/4 c (1.5 sticks) butter, melted
1 c sugar
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
1 c milk
3/4 c dried cherries (optional)

First, melt the butter. It’s always a good idea to do it in bursts of 15-20 seconds, swirling the dish around in between, rather than just nuking for a minute or two straight. Unless you want to butter your microwave’s interior. It should only take about four rounds anyway. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until well combined. (It should be noted that only stirring will be done, no mixer needed. Just a wooden spoon.) Next, stir in the eggs and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder and soda. Then, alternately add the flour mixture and milk into the cocoa mixture until combined. Finally stir in the cherries, or nuts, or whatever you’d like for extra bulk, or nothing. Pour into a 13 x 9 pan (grease if it needs it) and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes. According to the book, the prep time takes 30 minutes, which my cohort and I raised our eyebrows at and even scoffed at slightly. By the time we poured the batter into the pan, we realized the writer of the recipe has us in mind when estimating such a generous prep time figure.

While the oven works its magic, time for the icing:
1 c peanut butter (I used Adams creamy, the natural kind, you know)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c milk
1 t vanilla
6 T butter, softened

This part does require a mixer, unless you want to work your arms. Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Do it for a minute or two, as it’ll still look like peanut butter afterwards (i.e. you won’t be able to tell visually when it’s done). Add the vanilla, then blend in the sugar, about 1/2 c at a time. If the frosting is already at a spreadable, or desirable, consistency, don’t bother with the milk. The milk is there to thin out the icing. Likely though, you should need some of it, as the icing should be smooth enough to stir and will firm up when cooling in the fridge. It shouldn’t be too thick when you put it away.

The icing shouldn’t take longer than the bake time, so kick up your heels if you get the chance. Remember to check on the oven near the end of cook time. Use the old toothpick/kebab skewer trick to test for the endpoint. It should go in and come out clean. Let cool for an hour or two before topping it off.

Anyway, they turned out not bad. Seeing as how these were really for someone not me, they could have been a little bit sweeter, may a little more cocoa too. I have nothing against choco, I just don’t go out of my way much to eat it. But, I did eat two bits in one sitting, and the third that was saved for me likely will not survive the morning. Milk most definitely included, though– I’m not crazy.

cherry brownies + peanut butter icing 1

Nice and neat, all together. Note the nice kitchen in the background.

cherry brownies + peanut butter icing 2

The last (for now) survivor. Not as impressive on its own, eh? Note the not-as-nice kitchen in the background.

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