Yesterday Brown (UPS) brought me a package that I had ordered from Amazon.com last week. I was pretty excited about it and I was anxious to use it in a photo. What was it?
It was a package of cute straws!
These little straws are the perfect accessory for any food (or outfit, for that matter.) And, they are made of nice thick paper, not plastic.
So, what kind of food shows off straws? Something to drink! Something like milk! And what goes with milk? Brownies, obviously. (This is turning into a reverse of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”)
It was my youngest son’s birthday on Sunday (another post, another time) and I had made some brownies from scratch for a group of young men that came over to the house to help celebrate and play video games. So, I thought they (the brownies, not the young men) would be the perfect backdrop for my cute straws.
I used one of my favorite recipes that I have been using forever because it always works and the brownies turn out great…a little crispy on the top and chewy in the middle. And they are not too sweet. I don’t like overly sweet Sweets so these brownies are great for me. I’m also a fan of using recipes from the “back of the box” or package because I figure that the people that are selling these products would want to showcase their product in the best possible way. I think they have probably tested their recipes every which way to showcase the product, so why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. I have used the Toll house recipe for chocolate chip cookies, The Oatmeal Cookie recipe from Quaker Oats, the Mini Sweet Pepper Salsa recipe from the back of the Wilson Produce bag and the cheesecake recipe from inside the Philadelphia Cream Cheese box. There are other recipes I’ve used from the “back of the box” of other products and I don’t think I’ve ever been dissatisfied with them.
At any rate, I got this recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa box. As I’ve mentioned on another post, we’ve been trying to watch our pennies and to be better stewards with the things we already have on hand. I already had the Hershey’s Cocoa along with everything else except I was short 1/4 cup of white sugar. I confess that I substituted 1/4 cup of brown sugar and the only difference that I noted was that the recipe did not taste quite as sweet (possibly my imagination), but was still quite tasty and chewy. In fact, I might try half white sugar and half brown sugar next time just to see where that takes me. I also did not add walnuts (which I love) because my youngest does not like nuts, and it was his birthday.
The brownies made up nice and easy and did not create a big mess like my cupcakes are apt to do. I cooked them on the low end of the time because we have a convection oven and baked goods seem to cook a little faster than using a regular oven.
I must say that I picked out the blue plate to match the blue stripes on the straw and because I like blue and brown together. However, it is my firm opinion that brown food does not photograph very well and as tasty as these brownies were, I thought they needed a little something to make them look truly scrumptious.
So, I dug around in my cupboard and found a little tube of cookie icing. I do not like frosting on my brownies because it makes them too sweet. In fact, I’m not crazy about frosting on anything (unless it’s whipped cream frosting…then I’m all about that!) But, I drizzled a little of this glaze on the pile of brownies and I was quite satisfied with how they looked.
And the bonus was they had stripes just like my new straws. Who could ask for anything more?
Here’s the recipe from Hershey’s Cocoa:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
- 2 Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost if desired. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.
Nutritional Information per serving: (1/36 of recipe–1 brownie):
Calories: 100, Total Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 60mg,
Total Carbohydrate: 15g, Dietary Fiber: less than 1g, Sugars: 11g, Protein: less than 1g,
Vitamin A: 4%DV*, Vitamin C: 0%DV*, Calcium: 0%DV*, Iron: 0%DV*
*DV=%Daily Values are calculated based on 2000 calorie diet
I would strongly recommend these brownies. They are not too sweet, chewy on the inside and have a great chocolate flavor. I would also strongly recommend a cute straw for your milk that you will have with your brownies. It will make you smile.