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Thursday, December 3,2009

Gingerbread Brownies

By Danette Randall
So, pumpkin month is over, and I’m sure there’s not a dry eye in the house.

Not to worry, December will be full of pleasing, simple desserts that will have your house smelling festive and neighbors knocking on your door. Just pull the ol’ “I’m asleep” trick if neighbors knocking on your door doesn’t appeal to you, or do what I do and talk to yourself every time you are outside. I don’t care how good your kitchen smells, they won’t be knocking.

To kick things off is Gingerbread Brownies. Oh, the divine mix of chocolate and ginger is making my mouth water just talking about it. If this doesn’t put you in the spirit to celebrate, I don’t know what will. I’m taking the all-American brownie, wait, can I use all-American for brownies, or is that only reserved for apple pie? Fascinating and deep questions I pose, I know.

Anyway, we are just putting a little twist, adding some spices, namely ginger, and then topping the deliciousness with more chocolate and crystallized ginger, which leads me to another deep thought. Ginger or Mary Ann? While Ginger was a spicy little number, Mary Ann was a sweet little thing, so I guess these brownies are a good combo of both. What a hit you will be, bringing these to your next party. Just wear a sexy little get-up, but throw on your best Crocs (I’m guessing that would be the fur-lined ones). A perfect Ginger/ Mary Ann melding. And oh-so-Boulder to boot. I am also thinking of your health along with the attire. Ginger is known to calm indigestion, nausea, the common cold and even hot flashes. Is it hot in here? Someone please get me a piece of ginger. The pungent, spicy, sweet mix is great for snacking any time of day. Now Mary Ann never had that claim to fame.

So BYOB. Bring Your Own Brownies, that is. Come on, I’m trying to get through this column without the mention of a cocktail, but now that it’s already out there, I feel it is my duty to suggest a nice “spiked” hot chocolate with a little cinnamon topper paired with these chocolate gingerbread brownies. Or perhaps a nice cup of tea. Yeah, that would make you the other one. And I don’t mean Mrs. Howell. Whatever you wash it down with will be an afterthought. These are just that good. Now follow the directions, put some love into it and invite me over when it’s done.

While Ginger was a spicy number, Mary Ann was a sweet little thing.

BEFORE YOU START: Make sure eggs are room temp. I used semi-sweet chocolate. Dark chocolate would be a fantastic alternative. If you like it spicy, add more ground ginger. I went more middle of the road, knowing the TV audience preferences.

GINGERBREAD BROWNIES

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. crystallized ginger (chopped)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan. Melt 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup chocolate chips in double boiler slowly over low heat. When melted, take off heat. Add in cocoa powder and vanilla. Mix well and set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar. Add in molasses. Pour chocolate mixture into molasses mixture and stir until well combined.

Add flour, salt, cloves and ginger into batter and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Do not over-bake.

Take out of oven, spread 1/2 cup chocolate chips on top of brownies. Let sit at least five to seven minutes until chocolate starts to melt. Gently spread melted chocolate until even over brownies.

Sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger over top. Let set and cool at least one hour.

When ready to serve, dust lightly with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Enjoy! Note: you can find crystallized ginger in most supermarkets in the spice section

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