Monday, June 3, 2013

SnackLove: Whole Wheat Cocoa Brownies!

It was a cold morning. I had nothing planned. The house was clean, the garden was planted and mulched. Laundry had been folded an put away. The big yellow bus had swept the kids off to school.

The dogs were snoring in their beds.

With our new, simpler lifestyle, we had forgone the satellite dish and cable service in favor of other more important things- like farm infrastructure, not to mention paint, wallboard, lumber, nails, wire, plumbing and scads of nuts, bolts, gaskets, fittings and tape- all to bring Appleside Cottage back to her formal glory.

There was just no extra money for 600 of America's favorite channels.

That cold morning, the 2 channels our antennae picked up were not offering anything more insightful than the latest Hollywood fluff or what insipid shade of eyeshadow everyone-who-was-anyone would be buying and wearing for the upcoming season. So, as often happens, my attention was drawn to the kitchen.

Since it was a chilly morning, my thoughts went automatically to baking. As I perused my pantry to see what the pickings were, I was disappointed. Unless I wanted to make a sweet whole wheat omelet filled with walnuts and shredded coconut, I was out of luck. Then suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I spotted the glint of white in the letter "H" that formed the word Hershey's! COCOA!

Even with the momentary thrill of finding a brand-new can of cocoa powder, I was chagrined; my dry-goods shelf was pretty bare. It took about 4 seconds to take inventory: a half a bag of 10X sugar, 2 empty bread bags I was saving to store my home-made bread in, a comfortingly full bag of walnuts, a container of self-rising flour (nearly useless unless you are making biscuits every day), 1 scant cup of all-purpose flour and sturdy brown bag of King Arthur whole wheat flour.

So I channeled my old pal Pooh-Bear. "Think think think!"

Here is the result:

Winter'rest Farm Whole Wheat Cocoa Brownies

1 stick butter (or 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup applesauce)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Optional: add-ins like chocolate/butterscotch/peanut butter chips, nuts, or coconut.

Preheat your oven to 325. (With a few exceptions, most baked goods perform better at a lower temperature. So if in doubt, use 325 degrees)Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a pan on low-medium until combined and smooth.Remove and cool.
Note: it is helpful to put the butter in the pan first, then the sugar, then the cocoa. If you get sugar lumps, bump up the heat, stirring constantly, then turn the burner off and let the pot stay on the eye, using the residual heat to continue to melt down the sugar. If a large lump develops and resists melting, just remove it.
Once the chocolate mixture is cool, add the vanilla and eggs, mix until well incorporated. Add flour and mix. Pour into a pan prepared with pan spray and parchment (or just buttered). Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Now, I won't go so far as to say that these brownies are healthy. But when you have a chance to throw in some element that provides just a bit more nutrition, why not? Just don't tell them it's made with whole grain flour. I doubt anyone will be able to tell!

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