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[personal profile] possumcowboy
I mentioned Our Best Bites, a food blog, recently. It's well-written, funny, has fantastic pictures, and the two bloggers actually respond to emails personally. I get a daily recipe email from them. Every day, I open the email, say something like oooo...gotta make THAT soon...and then archive the file. Today (ok, yesterday), I decided that this cycle had to stop. I'd earmarked a recipe from a few weeks ago as "must make", and showed it to Leah. I made her read the whole thing, and she ooohed and aaahed and laughed and then looked at me with those all-encompassing eyes and said, "Lou, you have GOT to make these". So, I did.

First, the photo essay and directions are much better on the site, so here's the link to Mississippi Mud Brownies. Also, I wasn't very organized in my thinking or I'd have done a much better job with my own photos. Anyway, let's join the show already in progress:



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At this point, I've put dry ingredients in one bowl, added wet ingredients, used a hand mixer (because I don't have a KitchenAid 6 quart stand-alone mixer...yet), and poured the batter into my greased 9x13 pan. (The chocolate in these brownies comes from unsweetened cocoa. No mix of any kind). That went into the oven, and Nathan helped with cleanup.

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He was torn between "don't take pictures of me!" (his standard response to any camera) and "MMMMuMMMomMMMMnumMMMnumMM!" I was pleased with this reaction.

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Brownies came out of the oven, probably done about five minutes longer than I'd have liked (recipe said between 40 and 50 minutes, so I did 45). No worries. Next step: add marshmallows. Her recipe mentions that Kraft makes flat marshmallows for baking. Neither of the two grocery stores I frequent had them, so I got the mini marshmallows. I had about twelve left over in the bag after putting a layer of them on top of the brownies.

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Nathan helped with putting marshmallows in place, and with quality control. Very diligently, he made certain that these marshmallows were of the best flavor, consistency, and color.

The pan went back into the oven for several minutes, and emerged with toasted marshmallows.

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I set this aside to cool, as per instructions, while I mixed up the chocolate butter cream icing. I'd never made this before, but it was amazingly easy. Melted butter, unsweetened cocoa, powdered sugar, evaporated milk, and hit it with the mixer.

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*sigh* If only I had that KitchenAid mixer...

I started spreading icing, and then saw that the marshmallows were still too soft, because I hadn't followed directions and allowed the brownies to cool completely. A few strokes with the spatula showed that I would end up with something which, while edible, wouldn't be beautiful. So, I waited, and then spread the icing when the brownies were cooler, although probably not technically cool.

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Nathan helped with bowl and spatula cleanup, again.

It was early enough that I thought it would be fun to take brownies to Leah at work. Nathan and I both being on summer vacation, this was easy enough.
"Put on your shoes."
"Hang on, wait 'til my guy dies...gah! He's dead...ok..." (games on the iPhone)

I texted ahead and said, "don't leave work, yet, you might have surprise visitors".

So, Nathan and I waltzed into the office, waited for everyone to get off the phone, and finally cut into the brownies. They were still warm. Leah's co-worker asked if there was anything wrong with them moaning over every bite. All I could do was grin.

Later, after a visit to the gym (where yet ANOTHER petite aerobics instructor attempted to kill me), Leah and I got dinner and went to hang out with our regular Tuesday night crowd. There are always treats there, so I cut up some of the brownies to take with us and share. I gave a few to people who had arrived early, and then put the plate with the rest of the treats and went to chat with Big Jay (he's big, and his name is Jay). I heard "oh my GAWD" and looked over to see one of the ladies sitting near Leah, talking around a mouthful of brownie, with a string of marshmallow hanging from her mouth. A mumble of conversation, then "no WONDER you married him" *fist bump*. I felt very proud.

I get so much enjoyment out of people enjoying food that I make. I get even more enjoyment when their enjoyment makes my wife look good. Is that silly? That hearing "did your husband really make these?" followed by "even the icing is from scratch" is the payoff for the time commitment?

The time is closing on 3:30, and I should really try to get back to sleep. I hope some of you out there in internetland will give these a try. They're amazingly easy to make, and the "impress your friends" factor far outweighs the effort. I spent two hours making these, most of the time taken up with brownies being in the oven (while I played games on my iPhone) and putting all those miniature marshmallows on top. Next time I make these, I'll use kitchen scissors to cut regular-sized marshmallows in half, so that I have disk shapes instead of barrel shapes. If I was making these for a pitch-in, I'd probably want them done the night before. If I was doing same-day baking, I'd start at eleven to have them done and cooled to leave by five.
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