I’ve been searching for a perfect brownie recipe for a long time. One that would rival the cheap, convenient stuff that comes in a box. It had to be dense, fudgy and chewy with the ubiquitous crackly top. And it had to be easy; really easy. Here it is. This brownie comes together without melting chocolate and I make it sans mixer, which screams convenient. Best of all it is incredibly delicious, with a pronounced dark chocolate flavor and contrast from the salty pretzels.
I can count on one hand the amount of times I've been away from my children. Actually, I would need just two fingers. Both times were postpartum hospital stays and I still got to hug them in the morning. I love my kids to pieces and my heart bursts when thinking of them, but it would be untrue if I told you I never daydream of hoping on a plane to go somewhere, anywhere, alone. At heart, I have an incurable case of wanderlust that isn't so convenient given my life circumstances but it's there anyhow. I often daydream of places I'd like to visit. It makes for nice entertainment against the backdrop of daily motherhood things. And now that I'm off on the quickest getaway I could realistically pull off, I want nothing more than to cancel my flight and stay. Stay through the craziness that is the daily grind. Stroke my daughter's softly curled hair through her nerve-grating tantrums. See them off in the morning with both a smile and a sigh of relief. I love my every day and I didn't think it would difficult to peel me away from it. I even searched inside of myself and could see not a hint of relief or secret joy at the prospect of leaving. I'm amazed. Though I won't be wiping away a stream of tears as the plane takes off, the well is forming inside. It's only a four day trip, with a stop over in Paris, oui Paris!, that gives me enough time to give my college roommate la bise and have a sleepover just like our 21-year-old selves. We'll likely giggle the night away, as we can't help to every time we're together. I'll practice my french with the confidence I don't feel given the many years since I last spoke it fluently but that I've acquired with age. And if the taxi driver smirks at a mispronunciation then I'll shrug and move on.
So as I'm off and leaving behind my family, there are leftovers of this brownie. I think they'll be ok.
The base of this recipe is perfect as is. Instead of pretzels, you can explore different toppings and nut butters to create the flavor profile of your liking. I go for cookie butter because as perfect as it is on its own, it's more amazing nestled in the batter.
And of course, Chanukah is soon! I will get moving on that as soon as I'm back home in Jerusalem.
yields: 1 8x8 inch cake pan
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, cold
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1oz. baking chocolate, chopped or 1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole pretzels, finely crushed
12 whole pretzels, for the top
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and sugars until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. Sift the dry ingredients through a fine mesh sieve, to incorporate them well. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones slowly, mixing well in between. Whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate and crushed pretzels. Pour the batter into the baking pan and lightly press the whole pretzels on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into squares. You can serve it as is or with a scoop of ice cream.