First full day of baking and some cocoa brownies

Today was my first day, 9 to 5, as a pastry chef. The day flew by and I loved every minute, except maybe when I overcooked some red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies – then I swore a little. Its amazing how much you can create in 8 hours. I made 25 loaves and 50 rolls of Challah, two pans of apple crisp, peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies, vegan frosting and the previously mentioned red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies.

And of course after a full day of making breads and desserts, what did I do? Make naan bread on the grill with curry and some M&M brownies! We had a couple move in downstairs from us and I feel like brownies are the only proper introduction. Cocoa brownies are cheep, delicious and easy in a pinch.

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M&M cocoa brownies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

10 T unsalted butter – melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
2 large cold eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup M&M’s

Oven @ 350 degrees

Combine ingredients in the order they are listed (except the M&M’s!) when the flour is completely mixed in, mix the batter for another minute or so until it is shiny.

Grease an 8 x 8 pan and pour in batter, sprinkle M&M’s on top and bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and cut into squares. You can always get super clean cut brownies by putting the whole pan in the fridge or freezer before slicing.

Other topping ideas:
Candied or roasted nuts
Dried fruit
Dusted cinnamon and powdered sugar
Crushed andes mints or peppermint patties
Crushed oreo cookies
Candied ginger pieces
Graham cracker pieces and mini marshmallows
The list can go on forever!

Make these basic brownies as casual or as fancy shmancy as you like, they are your blank canvas!

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