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By Kevin Williams
One of these days I'll learn...
I enjoy baking with my 3 ½ year daughter, Aster. With each passing week she becomes more capable in the kitchen, eager to help measure out flour, butter, sugar, and stir. "No, I want to get the sugar!" she'll bellow if I start to get it out of the pantry. Man, I love that enthusiasm of wanting to do a job. An activity like baking is a welcome winter respite from the TV and something fun she and I can do together. The one ingredient that makes it a more difficult endeavor: our 6 1 /2 month old daughter, Beatrice. Their mother was at the grocery the other day and I was at home with the daughters so I thought we would try to bake something basic. Again, fine with Aster, but when you throw Bea into the mix. Well, it's a recipe for a harried, haphazard project as I'm attempt to guide Aster with one hand and hold Bea in the other arm, because she doesn't like to stay in her "exer-saucer" very long, at least not when an exciting kitchen project is going on that she wants to be a part of!
I was thinking that an easy dessert sounded good. We didn't have a ton of ingredients of anything on hand (which is why Rachel was at the grocery), but I found a recipe online for a Nutella-Peanut Butter Brownie.
The brownie actually turned out pretty decent. Perhaps a touch dry, nothing a little frosting couldn't take care of. Wow, the frosting turned out good. We didn't have any powdered sugar, but we did have some peanut butter still, so I used some of that by improvising with a "toss in the kitchen sink" manta. I put maybe half a cup in a bowl, and I added perhaps about one-fourth stick of butter to it. A splash of milk. A splash of vanilla and a lot of sugar. And then the coup de grace: about a half cup of almond butter. That really deepened the flavor. Even though processed peanut butter has sugar, without it it just tasted like, well, peanut butter. The sugar (maybe I did 3 /4 a cup total) added really tempered the peanut butter and added a sweet enough taste that it melded well with the brownies. I've said before that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, and this frosting experiment turned out well. So if you want an easy brownie with a unique-tasting frosting, look no further! Just frost the brownies when they are warm and if you use my basic concoction above you'll get a thick, but still very spreadable, frosting.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 4.5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup Nutella
- ½ cup peanut butter
- Dump everything in a bowl.
- Stir well and attempt to get all the flour mixed in thoroughly.
- Pour into greased 9 X13 baking dish.
- Bake 30 - 40 minutes until butter knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.