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The definition of a perfect fudge brownie

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Never underestimate the power of a simple sweet treat to change the entire tone of your day! Sometimes a few luscious bites of a gooey chocolate brownie perks up your spirits and makes everything seem just a little bit better.

This recipe uses semi-sweet chocolate. You can use either blocks of baker’s chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips. I tend to price check both and then just use whichever one is a better bargain! Both will melt down and bake up the same way, so there is no need to spend more for a fancy brand or specially packaged product. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup flour
pinch salt

Directions:
You will need either a double boiler or two saucepans that will fit one inside the other. Put about two inches of water in the bottom pan and set on your stove burner at medium heat. The water does not need to boil hard; it just needs to get hot enough to warm the saucepan above it.

Place the oil and the chocolate into the top saucepan and let it begin to warm.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond, and salt. Give it a sound whipping for a minute or so, until the mixture looks very light yellow and is light and frothy.

Check in on that oil and chocolate now. It should be starting to warm and melt, so go ahead and stir it with a spoon while it melts into a thick, chocolaty batter texture.

As soon as the chocolate is thoroughly melted, remove it from the heat. Mixing the chocolate into the egg mixture takes just a little finesse. You want to keep the chocolate “moving” as you mix it in because the hot temperature can cause the eggs to start cooking. Obviously you don’t want blobs of cooked scrambled egg in your brownies! Here is how you do it: Just slowly pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs as you briskly stir the mixture with your whisk. Use a rubber spatula to make sure you don’t leave any chocolate behind ion that saucepan.

Now go ahead and stir in the flour, mixing it in thoroughly.

Pour that wonderful mixture into a lightly greased 10x6” baking pan or a square Pyrex pan. At this point, you can sprinkle a small handful of chocolate chips over the top of the batter before you slide it into the oven if you like.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, and then check with toothpick. When the brownies are fully baked, the toothpick will come out clean. If they are not done, leave them in for another five minutes.

When you take them out of the oven, cool the whole pan on a trivet that allows air circulation under the pan...if you set it on a solid surface like the counter top, the brownies may stay a bit soggy in the center of the pan. It is a good idea to allow them to cool for about ten minutes before you try to cut them, as they are much easier to remove from the pan.

Once the entire pan is cooled, you can cut them into squares and store in a covered container. These brownies are very moist and will keep well for quite a while in a closed container. You can also freeze them wrapped snugly in plastic.

Variations:
• This recipe can be doubled and then baked in a 9x13” baking pan. Baking time increases to 40-45 minutes.
• Add chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or peanuts.
• Sprinkle finely crushed peppermint candies over the top before baking.
• The almond flavoring can be omitted if you prefer. You could also substitute peppermint, orange, hazelnut, or another
favorite flavoring as you desire.

Last and most important: Go and enjoy a gooey chocolate brownie!!

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