This week I had chocolate on the brain and was craving this nostalgic baked good that brought back memories of my childhood. I admit I could have made brownies from scratch, like my mother did, but I didn't. (I blame my quick thinking and quick baking fix on my new, energetic tricolor Aussie pup.) When I went to the kitchen - I haven't been there much thanks to my herding four-legger and keeping him out of mischief - I passed the square dish and grabbed the cupcake pan. Then, I made the healthful decision to add fresh blackberries, which were on sale at our friendly Safeway, skip the icing, and give this sweet a touch of class.
The cool thing is, these semi-homemade, present-day brownies are easy on the eyes, provide that chocolate fix, and offer more time to do the things that dog moms do. Read: I had to figure out how to get my life back while I had a 14-pound puppy on the run throughout the house. I had no life and sported puffy, no-sleep puppy eyes.
So, on Saturday afternoon, like a zombie Stepford wife on a mission to keep her household in perfect order I visited my local pet store. "One dog crate, please!" Alas, I brought home a crate fit for a royal canine. Once home, I opened the big dog box, turned on Animal Planet, left Simon to babysit (he's 60 in human years and gets how to behave) with the little tyke, and I went to the grocery store for my first visit in more than two weeks. During the week, I was back in the kitchen baking and getting ready to hit the swimming pool that I have missed as much as a week without chocolate.
1 package store-bought premium dark chocolate brownie mix
1⁄3 cup European style butter
1⁄3 cup water (plus 2 tablespoons for the altitude)
1 brown egg
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4-1 cup fresh blackberries, whole
Lemon, fresh, slices
In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, beaten egg, and water. Pour half batter into jumbo sized cupcake liners. Top each with blackberries. Cover berries with rest of batter. Bake at approximately 325 degrees for about 35 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with sugar and add a lemon twist. Makes nine large brownie cupcakes.
A Brownie Bonus: Freezing the cupcakes makes it easier to peel away the cupcake liners and turn upside down. Also, if served on a plate drizzle melted dark chocolate chips or lemon frosting (made with 2 cups confectioner's sugar, a couple teaspoons European style butter and organic low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice) underneath or on top for a festive appeal with another surprise twist.
These brownies are not the run-of-the-mill square brownies with chocolate frosting. Instead, they're round with a fresh fruity flair and European dusting of powdered sugar. Twisted Brownies are perfect paired with coffee or tea and served for a snack or dessert giving a sophisticated flair - and fewer calories, too. Sure, traditional brownies without the frills are good but these sweeties are great to serve to friends, family, and even savor when chilling solo when active companion animals are sleeping.
Motto: Sometimes, it's fun to think outside of the box. Adding a bit of good taste to traditional foods adds gusto to the daily grind.-
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is-www.calorey.com.