Fudgy Chocolate Brownies….Being Martha

This is my continuing series called Being Martha

I debated what to bake today, but when all else fails a recipe that has the word “chocolate” in it always gets my attention.  This recipe is on Page 119 of the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and can also be found online here  It is a fairly simple recipe with just a few ingredients with the most important being chocolate.  You start out by taking your 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.  What exactly is bittersweet chocolate…it is really the same thing as dark chocolate.  You can read more about it here.  I always like to learn a something new when I am trying a new recipe.  And, I guess I am curious by nature.  Go figure!

So, you start out by breaking up the chocolate bars.  I used a rolling pin first to roll over the bars and break them up.  I find that the best way to break them up is to use a food processor.  It is fairly quick and easy especially if you only need to break down the chocolate into chunks like you do here.

Next, you take your butter and chocolate over heat and melt them together.  The recipe recommends a double boiler which I do not own so I use a regular sauce pan on low heat and stir constantly.  You have to be careful not to burn the chocolate, but I have never had a problem.  Once the chocolate and butter are melted and blended together, set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, stir in the sugar and then wish in the four eggs one at a time.  Then, vanilla and gently fold in the flour.

Once the flour is folded in and just combined, pour into your 8×8 baking pan or glass dish that has already been buttered and floured.  Place in the oven and let it cook.

This recipe makes great brownies that have a bit of a crispy top and a moist chocolatey inside….see, I already sampled them.

One tip for serving these brownies is to lightly sugar the bottom of the brownies so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the plate you are serving them on.  You can also sprinkle the top of the brownies lightly with powdered sugar to add an additional little something.

It is always a sign of a good day when my kitchen ends up like this!


Now for the ratings:

I would rate this an EASY recipe great for the beginner.

I would rate the taste an 9 out of 10.

Happy Baking!


What & Why….And Knowing the Difference

This week was intriguing and thought provoking.  There was a lot to consider and ponder while at the same time life flew by.  I found myself enjoying some ‘big thinking’ for a while which has become increasingly rewarding for me over the years. I used to be a “check the list” kind of gal, but as I grow older I am more intrigued by the things that are larger than me.  Maybe it is because checking things off a list isn’t challenging anymore for me OR maybe because I have grown past the need to account for my status in such a way.  There is a judgment in the list checking…I am good because I finished all the items on my list.  Or, I am bad because there is still a long list of unchecked boxes.  I find myself listening more and talking less.  For those of you who know me….that is a surprising development.  I may still talk a lot, but maybe a little less.  It’s not like I have transformed or anything….well, maybe I have changed a little.  Maybe it is age, maybe it is stress, maybe it is just life.

I have been toying with a question for the last few days.  Why I do what I do?  I know, it is probably the age old questions of “why am I here” repackaged.  But, maybe not.  As my career progresses, it is harder and harder to explain “WHAT” I do.  Years ago, it was easier to explain, but it now seems a little less concrete and more squishy.  They call that “management” and “leadership” I guess.  I think the harder it is for me to describe WHAT I do makes it easier for me to explore the WHY.  There are a lot of reasons I “like” what I do.  But, I don’t know I have completely landed on the WHY.

I didn’t just stumble on this big thinking all by myself.  I was inspired by a meeting with some people that got my creative juices flowing who then turned me on to this 18 minute presentation by Simon Sinek.  Click on the link below to view it for yourself.

Simon Sinek - How Great Leaders Inspire Action

This video, in turn, opened another door to a great inspirational resource. TED Talks….Check out this amazing site and organization that collects the great thinkers of our time to educate, inform and inspire us.  You can go to About TED   to learn about what they are and why they exist.  There are presentations on a myriad of topics that will inspire you and get you thinking.  I downloaded the talk above onto my iPhone and listened to it on the way to work.  It was a great way to start the day.

Back to my soapbox…WHY???  Not the what, but WHY?  I am still trying to clearly understand WHY I do what I do (whatever that is) and what inspires me to get up everyday and try to do the very best I can do.  I have even challenged my own staff to better watch the video and to think a little bit about WHY they do what they do.  I am excited to hear their feedback.  And, I am excited to understand more about me and what makes me tick.

Heavy thoughts for a Friday night before a long weekend, but also a little fun and inspiring.

Hoping you have a creative and relaxing weekend.