Thursday, October 09, 2008

How to Achieve Bliss...Cheaply

I was perusing the message board at Two Peas in a Bucket, a scrapbooking website, recently and came across a NSBR topic that interested me. NSBR stands for Not Scrapbook Related, and at Two Peas, that can mean just about anything from politics to the evils of Uncrustables. I'm not even kidding; the NSBR board is notorious for its ability to create drama over any subject. But I get enough good information there to make it worth wading through the drama, and this particular day I struck gold.

A woman posted that she had gotten herself addicted to Schwan's microwavable brownies. Since the Schwan guy stops by our house every other Saturday, I made a mental note. The next time he stopped by, I tried to buy some, but he was sold out. You know me, that made me want them all the more.

Two weeks later, he was back, and this time he had a box of the elusive, bliss-inducing brownies. Yippee! But when I opened the box, I realized for the first time what I got for my $5.79 (plus delivery charge, plus fuel surcharge). I got four stinkin' brownies. Exactly enough for everyone in my house to have one. One!!

Well, at that point, the brownies were what Scott calls a sunk cost, so I figured we might as well enjoy them. And enjoy them we did!! You pop each little tray of frozen brownie batter in the microwave and nuke it for 50 seconds, top with a little ice cream and kiss your troubles goodbye.

But the cost still really bugged me. So I got to thinking. What would happen if I made my OWN microwavable brownies? Hmmm.

So I got out my mom's easy, quick, best-on-the-planet brownie recipe. (I bet you could even use a boxed brownie mix.) Will and Katie helped me mix it up, and then we put about 1/4 cup of batter in my Pampered Chef prep bowls. (Give 'em a little squirt of Pam.) Since the batter wasn't frozen, I nuked it for 30 seconds. It was perfect. A little ice cream, a little squirty whipped cream, and my kids are dancing around proclaiming me a kitchen genius. (Well, okay, what Will actually said was, "This is just as good as a mix!" Little bugger.) My mom's recipe made enough for 10 1/4 cup brownies--which is a PMS brownie, not the 1.5 x 1.5 inch sized brownie that Weight Watchers, the Biggest Loser or any other weight loss entity would allow. But the prep bowls I used come with a good little lid, so I popped the extras in the freezer and it must makes me happy to know they're in there waiting for me whenever I need them.

Because my generosity today knows no bounds, I am sharing my mom's brownie recipe with you. It only takes about 2 minutes longer than using a mix and, in my opinion, is soooo worth it.

Melt 2 sticks of margarine and set aside. (I use butter.)
Measure into mixing bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 heaping tablespoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups nuts, optional (I didn't use them in the microwavable version.)
Stir in:
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
the melted margarine.

How easy is that?? Now, if you want to bake these in the oven, use the wrappers from the butter to grease a 9x13" pan and bake it at 350 for 30 minutes. If you're microwaving them, it's 1/4-cup portions, one at a time, for 30-35 seconds now or 45-50 seconds after they're frozen. Let it stand for a minute--even a little longer if you can--so it can set. And also because it will burn your mouth.


Mama Nirvana said...

I've done microwaveable versions of the No-Pudge (fat-free) brownie mix they sell at the store. You can actually take one tablspoon of the mix and mix it with one tablespoon of yogurt, stir and microwave. Something about instant gratification is pretty awesome.


Georgetta Nextdoor said...

I think it would be best if my household is not introduced to this idea..... :)

Sounds yummy.