A simple but well-made pan of brownies is just as thoughtful a Valentineâ€™s present as a box of the most expensive chocolates, particularly if you bake them yourself. Almost anyone can bake a nice pan of brownies. Just follow these simple instructionsâ€¦ buy a box of Bakerâ€™s or Nestle or other brand of unsweetened baking chocolate squares in the baking supplies section of most good groceries. Unwrap 8 of the squares or sections of chocolate and place them in a pot with 1 and Â¾ cup of butter and melt this over low heat; turning off the heat as soon as the chocolate is melted. Allow this mixture to cool for at least 20-25 minutes if in the tropics, possibly less in cooler climates. I read somewhere that if you pour a very hot chocolate mixture into the eggs/flour mixture the brownies can turn â€œcakeyâ€ rather than dense and intense. Then in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, beat 6 large (I find 7 Filipino eggs) eggs which are at room temperature (not straight out of the fridge) and add 4 cups of white sugar (yup, thatâ€™s a lot) and 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract. Add two cups of all-purpose flour and when it is all blended, add the cooled chocolate mixture. Add chopped walnuts or pecans if you like and bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes or just a little dough comes out on the toothpick if you test the brownies by piercing them with a toothpick. Do not overcook.
Cool on a wire rack and serve still warm if you want; great with vanilla or chocolate ice cream. The proportions to this recipe can be found on the back of the box of unsweetened baking chocolate; but the way I prepare the batter for the brownies is a little different. In the past 2-3 months I have made several dozen pans of brownies â€“ for parties, wakes, gifts, school events, relatives, etc. Instead of just making the plain version, which is still the house and the Kidâ€™s favorite, I have tried to add shaved chocolate, chocolate chips, chopped figs, melted white chocolate and different kinds of nuts. The brownies with figs were interesting but not quite a total hit. The brownies with melted white chocolate coaxed into a fancy design looked great and tasted pretty good as well. However, I still like the combination with walnuts, pecans or lately with macadamiasâ€¦ whatever the â€œmix-ins,â€ homemade brownies are never short on takers in these partsâ€¦and the smell of brownies baking is reason enough to make them!