One of the favorite cookies on a plate always seems to be brownies. While I have several recipes, I’m sharing one that is usually popular. For me, the combination of chocolate, orange, and hazel nut is hard to resist.
Mocha Hazelnut Orange Brownies
Eight ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter (two sticks)
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons coffee crystals
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. Stir in coffee crystals. Cool slightly. In another bowl, beat all, sugar and vanilla on high speed for five to eight minutes. Blend in melted chocolate mixture on low speed. All flour, beating just to blend. Stir in nuts.
Spread mixture in greased 13 x 9-inch jelly roll pan or in two 8 x 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Do not over bake.
½ cup butter (one stick)
1 pound powdered sugar
3 heaping tablespoons Nutella spread.
Juice of one orange
Grated rind of one orange
Beat the butter and Nutella with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well incorporated. Add grated orange rind and enough juice to make the frosting spreadable but not runny.
When the brownies are completely cooled in the pan, generously frost. To make them easier to cut, refrigerate until frosting is set.
My daughter made a batch of brownies for work this week. She went according to directions and went to an expert (not!), my husband! to get an opinion on whether they were adequately baked. At one in the morning, she was cutting her brownies and discovered she needed another expert but what to do now. I found her sad note on the counter in the morning along with two containers of semi-baked brownie goo. Since she had doubled the batch and used eight eggs, a pound of butter and all of my baking chocolate, I figured there had to be a remedy.
Since I had nothing to lose at this point, I put all the ‘goo’ into the mixing bowl, added a couple more eggs and a bit of baking powder and blended it until smooth and could hold it’s shape. I dropped balls of dough onto the parchment paper and flattened them down a bit with some Valentine’s Day sprinkles. They rose nicely, had a thin crust and a cake-like interior and retained that intense chocolate taste. Ended up with enough for my husband to take to work, my daughter’s party at work as well as a plate of perimeter brownies in the original form.
Summer wears on and using the oven can compromise your air conditioning and the tempers of the family. However, one-pan bar cookies can get a batch of brownies in and out of the oven quickly and all will be forgiven.
Peanut Butter Brownies
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark, brown sugar
3/4 granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Blend in dry ingredients. Spread batter in greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Scatter the chocolate chips over the top and bake for three minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife through the chocolate and peanut butter batter in swirls. Return to oven and bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Cut in squares when cool.
Makes approximately 2 dozen bars.