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The Art of Serving

Why do we cook? Well, because we need eat of course. Duh. Okay then, why do we cook for others? That has a much more complicated answer, one that I've been thinking about a lot lately. I'm part of a ladies Bible study group, and we're going through a book about the art of caring. I'm having some trouble with parts of the books because I'm not the most caring person. For example, when my husband is sick or ailing, I have very little patience to do the sympathy thing. I love him dearly, but, let's face it, sick people aren't usually that good at focusing on and doing the things that will make them better. They're better at...well...whining, and the sound of whining is the fastest way to the annoyance center of my brain. Doubly so when it's a male whining. Problem solving and intentional self-improvement is more my style.

So why am I mentioning this? Because there's also something that I can really relate to in the book: Feeding people. It's a family tradition. My warmest memories are of being at Gee or Granny Bet's house with a dozen or so relatives and enough food to feed an army. Feeding people, it's what we do. We do it to say thank you, I love you, I'd like to get to know you better, you're special, just because, etc. Mike recently got his wisdom teeth pulled, and I was not able to get off of work to take him, so our very dear friend Wes kindly stepped in and did so. To say thank you (and just because we hadn't had them over in a while), we invited Wes and Hannah over for dinner. I asked what they're favorite dish was and was told brownies. Okay, brownies it is. And, no, we're not making it out of a box.

Fudgy Brownies
Original recipe here

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium pan over very low heat. Stir together and remove from the heat. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the flour and salt. Add nuts. Spread the mixture into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Bake until set, about 40 minutes. Cool before cutting.

I have to confess that I was a little nervous about melting chocolate like this. I've always used a double boiler, but I know that butter is a great partner for butter, so I didn't hesitate for too long.

I let the chocolate cool before I added the other ingredients. This is important so that you don't cook your eggs.

You may notice a distinct lack of nuts. I don't like nuts in my brownies. I don't see the big deal about nuts and brownies. Really, people, what is that all about?

Guess what? You just made brownies from scratch! Look how easy that was! Had I known this was all there was to it, I would have stopped buying the box mix ages ago.

Ooooooh, look at those pretty babies. I'm so proud of these, and Wes and Hannah loved them. What a sweet way to say thanks! Pun intended. That's for you, Dad. :-)

My brownies we soft and chocolatey and had just a touch of that unique dark chocolate flavor. This will probably be my basic brownie recipe from now on. As you can see, it's pretty simple, so you could tweak it here and there to make it your own. For instance, Mike doesn't love dark chocolate, so I could use semi-sweet chocolate instead and less sugar. I like to hope these recipes I share every week will bring the people you love joy and make them feel special.

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