Friday nights as a night shift nurse hung-over from a lack of sleep were less than exciting during my early and mid 20s. Every other week I would have just finished a stretch of work and had a cherished few days off over the weekend. I would drag myself out of hibernation at 5pm only to have dinner and a glass of wine and promptly go back to bed at 8pm. On slightly more ambitious nights I would miraculously find the energy to actually cook something instead of pushing buttons on the microwave, which I had grown to despise as a (sometimes) necessary evil. The “modus operandi” for a Friday night off work was to eat comfort food that required very little energy expenditure and would most assuredly provide leftovers (or often times, a midnight snack, aka, lunch time).
Almost out of necessity, this era of my life generated my favorite and original brownie recipe. Besides melting the chocolate slowly (which is a feat of patience), all the ingredients can be mixed together (in the proper order, of course), poured in the pan, and baked. The nominal amount of extra time it took me to make this compared to a box of brownie mix (Ghirardelli, of course, I’m not a complete animal) became so negligible that it was almost ridiculous to do it any other way. However, I promise to never pass judgment on your brownie method, because brownies of any kind are better than no brownies. I only recommend you give these a try. You won’t regret it.
FRIDAY NIGHT BROWNIES
makes one 8×8 pan
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped into large chunks
10 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup coconut sugar (or white sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1.5 cups (8-10 ounces) peanut butter chips (can substitute any flavor of “chip”)
powdered sugar for dusting, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8×8 pan and set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Alternatively, you can microwave them until barely melted, stirring well every 20-30 seconds. Either way, when chocolate is only just melted, remove from heat and whisk in sugars. If the bowl or pot you used to melt your chocolate is big enough for the rest of the ingredients, continue using it. If not, transfer chocolate and sugar batter to a medium bowl.
Add eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and salt. Finally, stir in flour and then peanut butter chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 35 minutes for quite gooey brownies, 40 min for more “normal” brownies, or 45 minutes if you are a no-goo brownie eater. Cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting, if you can stand the wait (they will hold up better if you let them cool). If you want them to look fancy, dust with powdered sugar for presentation.