I have a few confessions to make. I love cooking. I love baking. I love discovering new recipes. I love cookbooks. Perhaps the most surprising confession? I rarely will buy a cookbook.
I borrow many (many) cookbooks from the library, finding a recipe here, a recipe there. However, very few cookbooks engage me enough to want to own the book forever and try the majority of recipes between its covers.
Family, friends and colleagues regularly share recipes with me, which I love. Sometimes I use good old Google to locate a recipe, especially if I’m trying to finish up something or other that is lingering in my pantry. There is an exception to my cookbook buying “rule”, well, a couple really. One exception is the cookbooks of Ina “The Barefoot Contessa” Garten.
Ina’s recipes are absolutely wonderful. They aren’t overly complicated, are flavourful and always work. Plus, they look awesome. Her roast chicken recipe is absolutely delicious, tender and juice and it looks exactly like the photo in the book. I shared the recipe with my nephew when he was hosting his first dinner party and his friends spent 10 minutes taking photos of the chicken to share online before diving in. Not a bite was left. That’s how good it is. Her chicken salad recipe. The best! Beef Bourguignon …amazing. I could go on and on.
The latest Barefoot Contessa book, “Cook Like a Pro”, was published this year. I believe it’s her 11th! As I wait patiently on the holds list, I decided to go back to Ina’s first cookbook and bake a batch of her incredible, super-chocolatey brownies for a recent family gathering. It has become my “go to” brownie recipe. Always work. Always decadent. Always disappear quickly.
— Sandi H.
1 cup butter
1 ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 – 1 oz squares bitter chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9” x 9” baking pan.
Combine the butter and chocolate in a double-boiler. When the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Combine flour, powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir just until combined.
Bake for 20 minutes. Do toothpick test. It is VERY easy to overbake. These should be moist.
Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting into bars.
Note: the original recipe is for a much larger quantity. Although my husband would love that, I usually make 1/2 and that is the recipe that I am sharing above