Since most kids and their parents love a good brownie, why not make them “from scratch?”
What? But a box mix is so easy and so why go to the trouble? And the flavor is just as good.
Wrong on both counts. Scratch brownies are just about as easy as those from a boxed mix. Plus they taste better (not even a trace of “artificial flavors”).Best of all, an easy recipe for something as yummy as brownies fosters confidence in young bakers and teaches them some useful kitchen skills.
Call the Kids
Because chocolate brownies are so easy to make, your kids can prepare the batter on their own. You will want to chop the chocolate, if the recipe calls for it, and deal with the hot oven.P>
Let the children grease the brownie pan — usually an eight- or nine-inch square pan — using a little softened butter or margarine, or lightly spraying it with flavorless vegetable oil. Monitor the kids so that they don’t douse the pan with the vegetable spray; let’s face it, it’s fun to work that spray can!
They can also measure the sugar and any liquid (not all brownie recipes have liquid, while some call for a little water or milk).
If they have mastered the art of breaking eggs, let them mix the eggs into the batter. Regardless of your proficiency with eggs, it’s always a good idea to break an egg into a small dish (like a custard cup) and then slide it into the mixing bowl. This way, any shell that happens to break off can easily be removed.
Let the kids measure the flour and then whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Brownies are super easy,and so there is no reason to haul out the standing mixer or even a hand-held mixer. Most brownie batters can be stirred with a wooden spoon if mixed in a large bowl. Of course, if you want to, use the mixer.
Make ‘Em As You Like ‘Em!
Once you have followed a recipe for a homemade brownie and have realized how easy and how delicious the outcome, consider modifying it for your family.
A lot of kids don’t like nuts and so if the recipe calls for walnuts or pecans, simply leave them out. No problem.
On the other hand, if your family finds almonds addictive, substitute them for the walnuts.
The recipe may call for block chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted. You could substitute the same amount of chocolate chips, which are a lot easier to handle. The trick is to make sure you use the same kind of chocolate: bittersweet chocolate for bittersweet; unsweetened for unsweetened; milk chocolate for milk chocolate.
Most brownies are made with bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. These are interchangeable in brownie recipes (and most others). This means, if your recipe calls for 16 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips (the most common kind of chocolate chips), you can switch in 16 ounces of very high-quality bittersweet (sometimes called dark) chocolate.
Even More Fun
Your kids may have some great ideas for customizing the brownies. They might want to stir in an extra handful of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate without melting it first but letting it soften in the oven. This results in deliciously yummy brownies.
Stir in a cup or so of mini marshmallows, or some peanut butter chips and maybe some coarsely chopped peanuts, too.
Spread the top of the cooled brownies with melted chocolate or another kind of frosting.
Brownies are forgiving and just about always delicious. Have fun — and don’t forget the glasses of cold milk!