My mother’s brownies are a guaranteed crowd pleaser and they are probably the easiest thing on earth to make. You don’t even need a mixer, just a wooden spoon and your arm. For some reason, nobody can resist them. If you bring them to a holiday potluck, you will smugly watch while people fight over your brownies, ignoring the piles of cookies shaped like snowmen and stars which are a pain to bake because they have to be rolled out. Those cookies look so pretty with that colored sugar, but let’s face it, they taste DULL.
The brownies pictured have nuts but I would leave them out since so many people have nut allergies these days and some people just plain don’t like nuts (e.g., my brother).
I like to make them with chopped up candy canes for a seasonal touch. My nephews enjoy smashing the candy canes in a Ziplock bag with a meat tenderizing mallet. I like my candy canes in small, bite-sized chunks and not pulverized. This is easy to do if you start out with those mini candy canes they sell in inter-connected sleeves. Remember though, anything with mint has to be stored separately otherwise it infuses everything else in the tin with minty flavor.
This is a brownie that is equally delicious frozen, fresh out of the oven, or even a few days old. It’s the kind of recipe that stays gooey on the inside if you pull it out of the oven before the edges are too dark. No wonder everyone loves it.
The recipe originated with Parade magazine, circa 1964, but my mother claims Katherine Hepburn had the same recipe. I have no idea how she knows that! The candy cane idea is all mine though.
You can use expensive chocolate if you want, God knows I have at times, but for some reason this recipe tastes best to me with plain old Baker’s chocolate in those wax paper wrapped squares.
Candy Cane Brownies That Everyone Will Love
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (4 squares)
1 cup Earth Balance
2 cups sugar
3 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped up candy canes (optional)
1 cup flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9″ square pan well. Melt the chocolate and butter together, either over a double boiler or just very carefully, since chocolate burns fast.
Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together flour and salt and add gradually, ensuring you get all of the lumps of flour from the bottom mixed in. Add candy canes, if you are using them.
Pour your mixture into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick to the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool before slicing but slice around the edges with a knife while you are waiting.
Did I mention they are great frozen?