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Aunt Hilde’s Brownies

These brownies are rich and fudgy, with just enough lift to keep them from being too dense.  My Aunt Hilde made them whenever anyone needed a little comfort — funerals, break-ups, illness, celebrations, whatever.  When her elderly neighbor drove his car through the living room wall of another neighbor, Hilde, as always, knew just what to do.  She baked brownies. Because she knew that there are times when nothing else will help, and you just need a little chocolate.

A word of caution:  these are incredibly hard to resist.  If you find you have more than you can use right away, they freeze beautifully. I cut them into small squares, wrap them individually in plastic, and put them in a zip-loc freezer bag.  I can pop one of them into my daughter’s lunchbox and it will be thawed by the time she’s ready to eat, scoring me some major mom-points.  You know, they probably call that scoring “brownie points” for a reason…

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. dark rum or kahlua

4 eggs

handful chopped walnuts, optional

handful (~1 cup) chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a 9×13 pan.

Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring every 15 or 30 seconds to prevent burning.  Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients into bowl and combine thoroughly.  Add eggs, rum, vanilla and chocolate/butter mixture.  Stir thoroughly.  Add nuts, if desired, and chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to even thickness.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cracks begin to show over the surface of the brownies, and they have risen in the middle.

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