Brownie Sundaes on the Fourth

We got to have a holiday within a vacation this year, with the Fourth of July falling in the middle of our week in Colorado. It both felt like a holiday, and didn’t, since we were already off work, but it was a great day. Rich’s parents took Calvin to the town parade, but Rich and I decided to skip the crowds and go on a hike. Everyone else in the area was at the parade, it seemed, so we had the trail to ourselves. We could hear the celebration in the distance every so often, but it was mostly quiet, with a few bird calls. Ah, bliss!

We spent the afternoon relaxing and then getting ready for our barbecue dinner. We planned brownies, vanilla ice cream (not homemade, since the condo doesn’t have an ice cream maker for some reason. If you have one, try this recipe) and hot fudge sauce for dessert. The brownies were from “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy. We used the adaptations for 10,000 feet, but I am posting the sea level version since I think they will have more universal appeal. The brownies were good yesterday, but they are actually better today. The fudge sauce was my recipe from the Joy of Cooking. It was an experiment, since I wasn’t sure how to adapt it for high altitude. It ended up working just fine, with no adaptations – another point in that recipe’s favor.

The rest of the dinner (in case you are interested in more than dessert) was hamburgers, bratwurst, corn on the cob, baked beans, parmesan crusted zucchini chips, salad with every veggie we could think of and chips and dip. We could hardly fit the brownie sundaes in, but we managed.

Rich’s folks invited their friends, Jim and Paige, to share our celebratory dinner. In fact, Paige follows the blog and saw my mention of the brownies in Tuesday’s post. She and Jim were hoping I hadn’t changed my mind about making them before they came for dinner. Paige and I talked a little about cooking and baking at high altitude. She and I will have to talk more the next time we come for a visit. Paige, I know you are reading this, so be sure to post a comment.

I hope everyone reading had a good celebration for the Fourth. To me, there is nothing better than a day when you can do what you like, topped off by a dinner with friends and family. Brownies sundaes for dessert can’t hurt either.

Independence Pass Brownies
from “Pie in the Sky” by Susan G. Purdy
Adapted slightly by The Cook’s Life
Makes 9-12 brownies, 8-inch square pan

These baked up into slightly chewy, very dark brownies. They were good the day they were made, but they were even better the next day. The chocolate chips all sank to the bottom of mine. You might want to sprinkle some, or all, of the chips on top of your brownies instead of mixing them in.

1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts or white chocolate chips (optional, I didn’t use them)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.

Mix cocoa, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add vanilla and butter and mix well. Add egg mixture to cocoa mixture and stir well. Make sure there are no dry streaks of flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Don’t over bake. Cool the brownies on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

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