Fudgelicious Brownies

These beauties are so delectably moist, you could even eat them without frosting. Check that your chips and cocoa powder are gluten-free.
pastry brush or plastic wrap; 8-inch (20 cm) square glass, ceramic, or metal baking pan; sifter; measuring spoons; measuring cups; bowls; microwavable food cover; baking spatula; whisk; dinner knife; if frosting: baking spatula or palette knife
soft butter for baking pan
1 tsp (5 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder for baking pan
1 1/3 cups (330 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup (80 mL) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder (spoon in, level)
3 Tbsp (45 mL) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80 mL) packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white sugar
pinch of salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
2 eggs
Classic Brownie or Mint Brownie Frosting, if you like
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Use a pastry brush or a scrunched-up piece of plastic wrap to butter the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Sift 1 tsp (5 mL) cocoa powder into the pan. Tip the pan around to roll the cocoa over the bottom (you don’t need to coat the sides with cocoa). This stops the brownies from sticking in the pan. Set aside.
  3. Put the chocolate chips and 1/3 cup (80 mL) butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a microwavable food cover, if you have one. Heat in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute at a time, two or three times, until the chocolate chips and butter are melted. After each minute, poke the chocolate chips with a baking spatula to check if they’ve melted. Get help removing the hot bowl from the microwave. Use the baking spatula to stir the chocolate and butter until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, in another large bowl, sift the 1/3 cup (80 mL) cocoa powder and cornstarch. Use a whisk to stir in the brown sugar (break up any lumps), white sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Go back to the bowl of melted butter and chocolate. Check that it’s lukewarm, not hot. Use the whisk to stir in the applesauce and vanilla until smooth. Then stir in the eggs until smooth.
  6. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stir with the whisk into a smooth batter. Use the baking spatula to scrape it evenly into the baking dish. Clean off the spatula with a dinner knife.
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes, until the top is set but the brownies are still soft. Cool completely in the pan before using a baking spatula or palette knife to spread with Classic Brownie or Mint Brownie Frosting, if you like.
Makes 16 Fudgelicious Brownies.

Custards in a Warm Bath

The fancy name for these sweet, silky egg custards is crème caramel. They’re baked in a “bath” of water to keep them soft and moist. They’re good eaten warm or chilled.
bowls, heatproof baking spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons, six ½-cup (125 mL) oven-proof ramekins or custard cups (or five 2/3-cup/160 mL ramekins or custard cups), roasting pan or large baking dish, whisk, 2-cup (500 mL) liquid measuring cup or other spouted cup
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream (35% milk fat)
1/3 cup (80 mL) white sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 eggs
¼ cup (60 mL) firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45 mL) water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, use a heatproof baking spatula to mix the milk, whipping cream, white sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Get help taking the bowl out of the microwave. Gently stir the mixture to start melting the sugar. Microwave again on high for another minute (do not microwave for more than a minute at a time or the mixture could foam over). It is important to melt all the sugar. Microwave one or two more times, stirring in between, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  3. Set the five or six ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan or large baking dish.
  4. Crack the four eggs into a big bowl. Use a whisk to beat them until the whites and yolks are blended.
  5. Check if the milk mixture is lukewarm or barely warm—if it’s still too hot, wait a little longer for it to cool down.
  6. Use a 2-cup (500 mL) measuring cup (or other spouted cup) to scoop about ½ cup (125 mL) of the lukewarm milk mixture and whisk it into the eggs. Then pour the rest of the egg mixture into the milk mixture. Whisk until blended. This is the custard mixture.
  7. Ask a helper to help you pour equal amounts of the custard mixture into the ramekins or custard cups. Or, if you want to fill the ramekins or custard cups, ask your helper to pour some custard mixture into the 2-cup liquid measuring cup (or other spouted cup) for you first. The helper can refill this pouring cup for you as you fill the ramekins or custard cups.
  8. Rinse out the pouring cup and use it to add warm tap water into the roasting pan or large baking dish—but don’t get water in the custards! Add enough warm water to reach half way up the outside of the ramekins or custard cups.
  9. Get help putting the pan of custards in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the custards are set. Get help removing the pan from the oven. Let cool until lukewarm, about 10 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, make the brown-sugar syrup by mixing the brown sugar and 3 Tbsp (45 mL) water in a clean, microwave-safe bowl and heating it in the microwave on high for 45 seconds. Get help removing the bowl from the microwave. Use a clean baking spatula to stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. You might need to heat it again for 30 seconds to melt the sugar.
  11. Spoon the brown sugar syrup onto the five or six baked custards. Eat while warm, or cool down and then chill for several hours or overnight to serve cold.
Makes 5 or 6 Custards in a Warm Bath.

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