Sunday, February 07, 2010

Chocolate, chocolate and M&M brownies

Together with friends, we spent the morning at the Morton Arboretum, which was luring folks to its snowy, cold gardens with something truly sweet: chocolate. After exploring the Candy Walk, a real-life Candy Land game in the Children's Garden, we headed indoors to the Chocolate Expo inside the Visitor Center. Every table was offering free samples, and I sampled them all--pretzels dipped in melted chocolate, full-sized artesianal chocolates, chocolate and Swiss cheese paninis, chocolate balsamic vinegar and chocolate lava cakes. We even purchased a genuine Belgian waffle and a box of ugly truffles.

After sampling so many delicious chocolates, it was probably wrong of me to have an M&M brownie when I got home. To make amends, I'll share my recipe with you. It is my go-to from scratch recipe as it can be made with ingredients I always have on hand. It's adapted from the Hershey's Cocoa Powder Brownies, and a wee bit naughty as you know Hershey's would never advocate enhancing their recipe with a Mars product! Speaking of Mars, some of the tastiest samples were from Dove Chocolate Discoveries, a home shopping party outfit. Although I've attended a few, I've always shied away from hosting anything that smacks of Tupperware, but I have to admit in this case I'm tempted.

M&M Brownies

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and grease the foil. With a wooden spoon, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, ending with the salt. Add the dry mixture to the butter and egg mixture and stir well. Add the M&Ms and stir once more. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. Cool before pulling out the foil-bottomed brownies and cut into small squares.