And the Winner Is!

valentine
This winter I introduced the idea of a Brownie Recipe Contest, the winner receiving a copy of a Chronicle Books recipe book I was reviewing, Luscious Chocolate Desserts. Many thanks to those of you who submitted recipes, which were far more varied than I could have imagined. A cousin sent one in with cayenne in the listed ingredients, and I subsequently learned it’s not an uncommon pairing, chocolate and cayenne, relished by some! So I learned some things! For example, I’ve honestly never let a recipe dictate that the size indicated is the size I must have, priding myself on finding alternatives if necessary, but apparently with brownies it does make a difference. Fussy things afterall, in spite of seeming to “easy.” I also learned that the doubleboiler is apparently becoming a thing of the past. Who knew? I actually drove an hour to Macy’s to get a proper one, and they “don’t sell them anymore.” (How could this be?)

Toward the end of the clarion call for recipes, a local amazing artist named Linda at the highly creative blog Vulture Peak Muse squeezed in with the following endearing comment:

ok ok ok, this is THE story of my life-being late! but if you are still looking and baking and testing and gaining weight, here you go with another one and this one will beat all of the rest! Just try it and see if you don’t agree and it’s as easy as can be…

So I added her recipe to the growing number. And today, day after Valentine’s Day I am happy to announce Linda as the WINNER of the Best Brownie Recipe Contest! Congratulations, Linda! Here is her recipe:

I changed this recipe over so many years of making them, I have no idea of it’s origination nor it’s many trials, errors, additions nor alterations. I don’t know where it originally came from but possibly many recipes rolled into one. You probably know what I mean!

This is the easiest and quickest, as well as the most delicious brownie recipe you will ever try. Trust me. Try it and see if I am not telling you the absolute truth about brownies! My recipe card’s well worn appearance is evidence of how much we have made our brownies over the years. I taught my oldest son, Brian, to make them by himself and wrote it so he could read my writing, thus the black Sharpie pen that would NEVER go away!!! :)

This recipe was published in the Tomales Kindergarten Cookbook of 1981, along with Great Grandma’s Apple Cake and Mom’s Lemon Bars~

lindasbrownie
~Brian’s Brownies~

4 oz. Scharffenberger or other sinfully delicious AND healthy {and expensive} semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 whole cube and one half more cube of unsalted butter ~
plus generous amount to grease the 9×13 glass {pyrex} baking dish

Melt slowly in large heavy pot.
Remove from heat and add to pot:

2c sugar
4 well beaten eggs
1T very very very good vanilla {Ina impersonation}
Mix this well by hand, beating a few minutes.

Add:
1 1/4c flour
1t baking powder
1t salt

Stir well and pour into prepared pan.
Bake @ 350degrees for 23 minutes
{ toothpick will be wet but with some bits of crumb beginning to form~
the hardest part of brownie baking is knowing when to remove the pan.}
~~~~~

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.
~Katherine Hepburn~

Editor’s notes (that would be me!): I tweaked this recipe in a couple of minor places: My brownies needed a bit more time than 23 min. And I made a point of whisking the flour, salt and baking powder prior to adding to chocolate mix; and some little part of me said to sift the flour as I was adding, so I did.

Thank you, and many blessings, Linda! Absolutely delicious recipe! And I loved the simplicity of making in one heavy pan. I will get a copy of Luscious Chocolate Desserts to you soon!

Valentine’s hugs and kisses,
Kathryn xoxoo

12 Responses to “And the Winner Is!”

  1. Kathryn, Wow, what a surprise! I am so glad you were able to leave me a comment! I just yesterday switched from anonymous comments to registered bloggers as I was being spammed so badly! Of all times…. anyway, I don’t live in Sonoma but I am very close by! I guess I managed to fool one of the better sleuths!

    I shall get the address to you in the morning and I thank you so much for your generous spirit and for trying Brian’s brownies. I knew you would like them but didn’t really expect they would be the best. Just wait til I tell him! ;)

    Thank you so much. linda

  2. Hi, Linda! So glad we connected! I love your blog and your spirit! Thought you were in the “designated ugly stepsister of Napa”! ;) LOL! Will email you in the morning! Kathryn xoxo

  3. Congratulations to Linda! Yeah…cayenne? Wow. But who thought cinnamon would work well in chili? And what’s this about double boilers being a thing of the past? I got a beautiful clear glass one for a wedding present in 1975 and one came with my Farberware pans that I got that same year. I’ll admit, it’ been quite some time since I’ve used either one, but I don’t do a lot of cooking or baking anymore. It’s like when my girls had never heard of an adding machine. I suddenly feel so old… LOL

  4. Hi, Kylee! You put cinnamon in chili?? :) As for double boilers–I also discovered it was impossible to find those metal jar holders one USED to use for canning. So I can relate to the adding machine story. I think you are in very good company with women who “don’t do a lot of cooking or baking anymore.” It’s a sign of the times. I’m determined to bring back baking. :) LOL! Thanks for stopping by! Kathryn xoxo

  5. Hi mom,

    Yummmmmy! Congrats to Linda! Adding a chili type spice to chocolate is actually quite an old custom, from what I understand. I’m thinking of rich, spicy chocolate milk of the Aztec’s here, which might be a Lovely pairing with these brownies! :-)

    Love you,
    Antonia
    XOXOX

  6. Good morning, Antonia! Learning, learning! I did not know about this pairing before this adventure! Thank you for adding to the dialogue! Love, Mom xoxo

  7. Hot peppers and chocolate is common in the Mexican chocolate mole sauce, and I suppose other Central and South American countries. There used to be a Mom and Pop Mexican Cafe on Summit St. east of OSU, I knew it in the early 1970s, that put cinnimon in their hot chocolate drinks. Just wonderful. Do you remember it? Cincinnati Skyline Chili is made with cinnimon and other “pumpkin pie” spices. A standard in southern and central Ohio although I have never come to love it because they also add sugar and it’s too sweet for me.
    We have just had another 10 inches of snow, third big snow in 2 weeks, so after I finish digging us out, I think I’ll have hot chocolate to warm us up. Could make brownies as well but just did banana, golden raisin, walnut muffins to give me something to work for!

  8. Hi, Julie, Aww, yes. That is sounding familiar. Mole. Not my favorite Mexican treat. I don’t remember the Mexican Cafe. I was a fixture in Charbert’s! Sausage sandwiches. Yum! But I digress. Your muffins sound yummy. The snow I can do without. Stay warm! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  9. Hi Kathryn!
    How fun!
    You know, before I met you on your blog I never did any baking, EVER…that is until now! Well, I do not do the desserts, but I did take off from the scones and the biscotti you featured and began to experiment with thing I love to eat and share: I just love savory crackers!
    So, Kathryn you do inspire! You really do!
    Ok.
    Philip’s Gourmet Cheese Crackers:

    This is based on a classic American cheese straw recipe, popular at weddings from old New England, the mid Atlantic states all the way to the deep South.( The only difference is that rather than cutting the dough into strips as a straw, the round shape is easier to handle and enjoy):
    Tools needed:
    a cuisenart or mini prep
    a cookie cutter ( I like my Grandmothers round shape cutter, about 1 1/2″ round)

    Preheat the oven to 350 F

    1/2 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp cheedar ( two cups)
    1 cup all purpose flour
    3/4 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut up into tablespoons or less
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 rounded teaspoon cayenne or more to taste
    1 1/2 tabelespoons whole milk

    later in the recipe as topping:
    1/4 teaspoon lightly ground cumin and a bit more cayenne

    Pulse the cheese, flour, butter, salt and cayenne in a food processor until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
    Slowly add the milk until a ball forms
    Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin to create a thin sheet of dough.
    Cut rounds using the cutter and place on cookie sheet ( My cookie sheets are very old, so I like to place tin foil as a cover)
    you can prick the rounds with a fork to deflate the cracker, or not to have a fluffier type
    depress coarse cumin seeds(slightly crushed with a morter and pestle) into the dough rounds with a very light and airy spinkling of more cayenne

    Place in oven with a timer for 8 minutes
    turn over with a spatula
    place timer for seven to eight minutes more( Watch the whole time)
    remove from oven and cool on a raised wire rack

    (the dough between the rounds can be gathered into another ball and rolled out for many more cheese crackers)

    Voila! cheese crackers so tasty you cannot believe it! Yay!
    :)

    Very warm regards to you,
    :)
    Philip

  10. Oh, Philip! I LOVE this! I’m going to make them tomorrow! I’ve always wanted to make homemade crackers as I find the ones at the market so, well, un-homemade! :) I have a giant smile on my face that you are baking! Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your Baking Journey with us!! Kathryn xoxo

  11. Linda’s recipe looks delicious, I look forward to trying it out.
    Yum!
    Kathlene

  12. Hi, Kathlene! Thanks for the visit! Let me know how you and your family like them! Love, Kathryn xoxo

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