Thursday, January 23, 2014

Treat yourself: chocolate glazed rum fudge brownies (from three cookbooks!)

Betty Crocker's Ultimate Cookie Book (1992) is the main source for this Ultimate Brownie. I chose the recipe because it calls for no less than 5 squares of baker's chocolate,

plus the addition of chocolate chips to the batter. Lacking chocolate chips just this one day -- I promise I'll have them next time -- I opted to add a sprinkling of rum to the finished pan, an idea taken from Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry's fun 1969 The How to Keep Him (After You've Caught Him) cookbook. This book leaped out and shouted "Buy me!" from the shelves of the local thrift store, because on one of my cookbook research trips to the Chicago Public Library a few months ago, I had found and copied down some recipes from the gals' previous effort, Saucepans and the Single Girl (1964). Browsing through that book, I could just imagine the two of them toddling around the big city in pencil skirts, careful coiffures, and high heeled pumps, buying groceries and liquor for a chic weekend dinner party brimming over with eligible bachelors. With How to Keep Him, they had evidently picked their bachelors and become wives and moms -- and no-nonsense ones at that. You want Rum Fudge Brownies? Sprinkle some rum over a pan of store-bought, box-mix brownies. You're done, and Jinx and Judy are free to go on psychoanalyzing Your Mate: "Western men have long been fascinated by the shy, gentle women of the Orient. It's no wonder, really, that Japanese women are so desirable. A well bred Japanese girl is trained from childhood in modesty and service ...." Therefore, make sukiyaki. This is from the chapter called "Rekindling the Flame."

Dim memories do stir, here, of a time somewhere about the Johnson and Nixon years when some suburban rendering of sukiyaki was fashionable. Still, Jinx and Judy's rum fudge angle is a little easier to adopt. And, as we're treating ourselves, why not cover our brownies with a chocolate glaze, from Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Cookbook?

It was an adventurous afternoon.

Chocolate glazed rum fudge ultimate brownies (from three cookbooks)

For the brownies:
  • 5 squares baker's chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter (10 and 2/3 Tbsp)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Melt the butter and the 5 squares baker's chocolate over low heat in a small saucepan. When completely melted, remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 9 x 2 pan.

Mix the sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl.

Beat in the chocolate mixture and combine well.

Beat in the flour until just blended, and then add the nuts and chocolate chips, if using.

Spread the batter in the pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or just until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely.

While they are baking, make a free form Chocolate glaze (this is based on two frosting recipes from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook).

  • 1 square baker's chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • about 1/4 cup milk
  • about 1 tsp cornstarch
  • a dash vanilla (less than 1/4 tsp)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan (you can use the same one you started the brownies with). Add the sugar and blend. The mixture will be grainy, so add the milk and blend; then add the cornstarch a little at a time, and cook until the glaze is the consistency you want. Finish by adding the vanilla. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp rum over the finished brownies. Cut into squares and place them on a platter. Plop, smooth, and/or dribble the glaze over them, depending on how thick you made it.

Eat. Share. (No really.)

M.F.K. Fisher took it as blindingly obvious that no one in his right mind would think of pairing chocolate with red wine -- which is precisely the pairing that is considered wonderful and fashionable now. By the same token, most wine writers say that of course one never drinks a fine dry sparkling wine, least of all a champagne, with sweet desserts, but I see no reason not to. Why not a refreshing light prosecco with these brownies? Or, if we must venture into red wine territory, why not a briny, raisin-y tawny port?

Treat yourself.

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