I think summer might be here. Granted, it came a little early this year on the heels of what could arguably be called one of the worst winters I’ve seen. I don’t mean that in the way that you might take it. What I mean is that whatever season we lived through in December, January, and February hardly deserved to be labeled as winter. Did I dislike the mild temperatures and lack of accumulating snow? Not exactly. But I was fearful. I walked through the months a bit on edge, afraid that April would come and smack us in the face with subzero, bone-chilling, three-feet-of-snow blizzards. I was afraid there’d be snow on the ground in May.
But it didn’t happen. Instead I witnessed a premature spring, one in which the gorgeous, cheery, hot pink tulips my mother-in-law planted in my yard bloomed almost 8 weeks early. The daffodils and irises opened, too, and the hostas from my dad came up, which meant that I was able to divide some and bring them along with me. I know sun and warmth makes things grow, but it all kind of caught me by surprise, the colors and life nodding in the breeze, almost as if they woke up early to say goodbye. It also made the process of moving a lot easier than the last time we moved (it was the end of January then, and the temperature was something like 10 degrees).
And now I think summer might be here. There’s lots of sun. There’s the heat. My garden is tilled and I’m impatiently waiting for the seeds to sprout. And then there’s my insatiable craving for ice cream. I’ve been relatively successful at keeping it in hibernation over the winter months, but as soon as I shed my winter coat, there it is with spoon in hand. There are two things that are guaranteed to make my day: coffee in the morning and ice cream in the evening. Throw in some chocolate along the way, and I’m a happy girl. And a concoction featuring all three? Now we’re talking!
That being said, this girl who makes everything from scratch has yet to make her own ice cream. This girl who is always out for a bargain has now twice missed an opportunity to buy an ice cream maker at a reasonable price. This girl has always talked herself out of it, knowing that,
- a) ice cream isn’t a necessary part of one’s diet;
- b) it still costs money to buy ingredients to make ice cream;
- c) ice cream comes conveniently already made and packaged;
- d) is there really room to store the ice cream maker?; and,
- e) there’s going to be a bit of teasing from the husband.
And naturally, this girl has walked away from such deals and consequently has kicked herself for passing up the opportunity to make something really good.
Now, if you’re anticipating an anecdote about how my husband surprised me yesterday with an ice cream maker and I immediately made the most wonderful ice cream ever and am going to share that recipe with you… Sorry. It’s not that he wouldn’t do it, but he hasn’t walked into such deals yet, and there’s no way I’d let him pay full price just to satisfy my creative monster. (I will say that he did surprise me the last night we spent in Illinois with a pint of peanut butter fudge ice cream. Much better than flowers!)
Anyway, what you are going to get is a recipe for some of the best brownies you will ever have. They’re easy — one bowl and a mixing spoon easy. They’re fast — mixed and out-of-the-oven-and-cooling-on-a-rack fast. They’re moist, rich, fudgy, and delicious. I’ve crammed as much chocolate as I possibly could in there. They’re also a great treat to make and take to summer gatherings. I’ve never had a pan that disappointed (even when I took them out too early once, they were still fudgy goodness on a spoon).
And I’d be lying if I didn’t say they’re also a perfect plate for a scoop or two of ice cream. 🙂
The Best One-Bowl Brownies
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 – 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided*
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 -1/3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13″ baking dish (cooking spray is fine).
- Heat butter in medium microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute or until melted.
- Add water, sugar, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Stir in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Add sprinkles for a festive touch.
- Bake for 18-25 minutes or until edges are browned and start to pull away from pan, and toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (a few fudgy crumbs stick to the toothpick).
- Cool on wire rack. Cut and serve.
*You can also be a bit creative here — use bittersweet chips in the brownies, use a variety of different chips on the top — dark chocolate, mint chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, etc. They’re also good frosted, but that takes a bit more work. 🙂