<3 At First Bite


“Just made brownies.” 

This fb post set off a string of comments (not to mention a couple dozen “Likes”)



–On my way over…

–Wish I were there

–Need to make some NOW too!


— <3

So what is it about brownies that make them so evocative?  Let’s start with the smell.   If you’ve ever baked brownies (or been in the kitchen of someone who has) the aroma is unmistakable and almost universally appreciated.  That sweet smell of cocoa lingers in your mind long after the last brownie has been gobbled up.  In fact, the smell is so appealing that in some ways, it surpasses the actual brownies themselves! (in some ways!)

Then there is texture and style.  Brownies can be cakelike or chewy!  They can be loaded with nuts, m&m’s, caramels, marshmallows, coconut, chocolate chips, toffee, butterscotch and/or vanilla morsels, to name a few.  They can be served frosted, double frosted, powdered sugared or straight from the pan.

And they can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.

Take Valentine’s Day.  Brownies are a perfect alternative to the traditional box of chocolates.

Why?  Because they are delicious and because presumably, someone went out of their way to make them. 

Ironically, it doesn’t take an expert baker to produce good brownies.  The best advice for novices – buy a box mix!  Pillsbury, Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker haven’t spent decades perfecting their recipes for nothing!   A couple of eggs, half cup of oil, quarter cup of water – good to go.  How easy is that?

Their recipes are so fool proof that even accidentally switching the measurements for oil and water still yielded tasty (not to mention low fat) brownies! (hey – not necessarily recommending it – just sayin’!)

Load them up with goodies; suddenly they become “gourmet.”  Decorate them with colorful candies, like hearts for Valentine’s Day, and voila – instant holiday fare.  Get creative: avant garde artiste.   Few foods offer so much opportunity for this kind of freedom and still come out delicious.

Given the assignment to “bring something to share” to a party or picnic, brownies are a sure winner!  Unlike cookies, they are quick and easy to make – throw them in a pan and bake for half hour and you’re done.  And unlike their close cousin – cake – they are easy to eat. They don’t require silverware, leave many crumbs, or make fingers sticky. Even if several other people show up with brownies in hand, by the end of the night, no one is taking them home.  Plus they don’t spoil, so if by some chance they are left over after sitting out for hours, that’s just a bonus because they only get better with age (at least for the first few days after they’re baked).

That’s not to say  they can’t be served formally.  Decorate them in the pan and throw on a few candles; you’ve got a birthday cake!  Add a scoop of ice cream, a spoonful of hot fudge, caramel and/or chocolate sauce and a dollop of whipped cream, toss on a few slivered almonds and you have now created a gourmet dessert worthy of the finest restaurants.   Talk about versatile!



2 replies
  1. us2005 says:

    As an alternative to Brownies, Rosemary created a GIANT COOKIE using the traditional Toll House Cookie recipe, then decorated it to her heart’s delight! Served up with wine and flowers, it is both elegant and sweet!

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