gotta bake

Yesterday, I was home doing daycare duty as Nana was out of town (looking at antique tractors with my father-in-law half way across the country, but that’s her problem). My problem was providing 8 hours of entertainment to my little girl, after working 8am-11pm the day before, and not quite enough sleep in-between.

Shortly after my second cup of coffee, I decided that I needed a cookie, muffin or some such. Not wanted, needed. A quick look through the cupboard confirmed we had nothing in the ready-to-make dept (not counting all the rice, pasta and at least 6 boxes of quinoa). I grabbed one of my daughters “breakfast bars” essentially an organic newton, and pondered.

Brownies. Yes, that was it. I wanted a nice big fudgey chocolate brownie.

Forget the fact that there was no sugar in the house… or rather I forgot that there was none to be had. (White granulated, I mean – I had just used brown for my coffee, so you’d think I’d have remembered.)

What I did remember, was a triple chocolate espresso brownie I made last Christmas for the company party. The ones that the recipe warned were rich, so cut them small. Yes they were rich, incredibly rich, and despite (or perhaps because of) their diminutive size they disappeared faster than anything else. Can I take all the credit? Not entirely. Cooks Illustrated did all the heavy lifting, I just followed the directions (and used really good organic ingredients). The recipe was a piece of cake, and left me wondering why anyone would bother with a box mix in the first place.

I pulled up the recipe and decided I could tone down the intensity a bit, had to really – after a mental inventory of the pantry, I knew I didn’t have all 3 types of chocolate. So we grabbed our aprons, pre-heated the oven (350) and began with the mise en place.

I’ve made the “mistake” of making cake-like brownies before (according to the package instructions). What a let down. Kind of like sharing one piece of birthday cake, rather than the whole thing. My recipe was definately a good old fudgey one, but discovering that brown sugar (luckily i had enough) was going to have to step in, I wondered how it might effect things – I know it makes a difference with cookies.

I melted down 7 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips, with 1 stick of butter. (Ok, that’s a lie. I used margarine, having no butter)
My little girl mixed 1 1/4 cups brown sugar with 3 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp salt (tried to keep it moving at least) while I added 1 1/2 Tbsp Instant coffee to the melted chocolate, and mixed together all the wet ingr.
Mixed in 1 Cup of flour (which she had to try, claims it was yummy), and baked it all in an 8″ pan (lined with greased foil – love the no clean-up there!)

40 min later (plus a little time to cool) rewarded me with a perfect brownie hybrid. Definately fudgy, but taller and almost cakey. Not too rich, so I was able to cut them big, and enjoy one with my coffee (and again for dessert).


If you want to intensify up the coffee flavor, replace instant coffee with harder to find (for me) instant espresso powder.
and adding in 3 T of cocoa powder, and trading 2 oz of semi (or bittersweet) for unsweetened chocolate will bring up the richness.


About Scott

I am a son, brother, husband and father, and I am (or have been and enjoyed being) A student of science, art, and humanities in the states and abroad. A graphic designer, art deparment manager, and an art director. A woodworker, home renovator & preservationist. Vegetarian, organic gardener, cook. Photographer, cartoonist. Runner, judoka and fencer. An actor, writer, director and producer for a student run (but not school affiliated or sponsored) local access variety show. A uomo universale in training! In my spare time I like to read, watch movies and look for other creative pursuits and new inspirations!
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