Simplicity Savored: Babe’s Favorite Brownies

My boyfriend loves chocolate. Like, loves it. I could make chocolate eggs and chocolate-covered bacon for breakfast, and he would eat it. (Okay, chocolate eggs might be an exaggeration… but chocolate-covered bacon sounds delicious… right?)

So, every time I feel like baking, and ask him what he wants, the answer is simple:

Chocolate. 

That generally brings one thing to mind, right? Brownies. 

I’ve found that I usually end up making these for special occasions. Our anniversary. Valentine’s Day. The Fourth of July.

Wait, what? The Fourth of July isn’t that special.

Except that it is. My guy has been working so hard, spending each and every waking moment studying for his CPA exam and I am so proud. So my itch to bake coupled with my desire to show him just how proud of him I was, and that resulted in me spending the holiday “perfecting” my brownie recipe.

And while I do put that word, perfect, in quotation marks because I’m sure there’s better bakers out there (I mean, I’ve hardly won the Great British Bake Off over here), I do think I knocked it out of the proverbial ballpark with these brownies.

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Ingredients (makes about one 9×9 pan of fudgy brownies):

  • 1/2 cup oil (I used melted butter this time to be extra indulgent)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting (you could get super fancy & make your own… but this is, after all, “Simplicity Savored” – so I cheated and used the can)
  • Festive sprinkles (optional for taste, but required for fun… M&Ms also work deliciously well)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Combine all dry ingredients except sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine oil and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs.

Add vanilla.

Mix until smooth.

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Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar/egg/vanilla combo.

Pour into the greased pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. The sides should pull away from the pan, and a toothpick should come out somewhat clean. (If you’re like me, you know that slightly undercooked brownies are definitely the way to go.)

Cool completely… which, yes I know is the hardest part!

Once cool, slather with frosting & sprinkles till your heart’s content.

Enjoy.

Simplicity Savored: 4 Ingredient Pasta

I love simple things. I love simple colors, styles, clothes, furniture… and food.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly adventurous with food and am just as likely to eat a curry with a million spices in it, but sometimes — especially, I might add, during the blazing desert summer — I crave a simpler pallet.

My idea of simple is a bit different from the boy’s idea of simple, though. He likes what reminds him of simpler times; I like to appreciate the aromatics of a simple dish, if you catch my drift (I know I’ve stated on numerous occasions that all we would eat is mac and cheese, if he chose the menu.)

That said, I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favorite simple dishes, which I’ve come to call 4 Ingredient Pasta. The premise is simple, as are the ingredients: pasta (obviously), olive oil, and 2 veggies of your choosing. Of course, we can up the game and make it a 5 ingredient pasta by adding the one thing that I do believe all pasta dishes need:

Cheese. 

Now, the veggies can be of your choosing — I’ve tried a multitude of combinations, myself. But my favorite is usually just plain old cherry tomatoes and a huge heaping of spinach.

The steps are easy: make the pasta while sautéing up the veggies separately. Once that process is done, it’s just a matter of mixing it all together with a drizzle of olive oil to bring out those extra, simple, subtle flavors.

And, of course, add the cheese.

You simply can’t forget the cheese.