Since it’s already early December, there is no doubt that your calendar is filling up faster than you can say “I’ll have another cocktail!” While there may be some boring gatherings for work that you’ll have to endure, hopefully, you’re looking forward to a few of the parties you’re slated to attend. But when there are holiday parties to go to, that usually means you’ll have to bring something to offer to the Christmas party gods. Some opt for a nice bottle of wine, while others may opt for a scented candle. But if you want to really give your host something special, make a delicious dessert. (You know, in all that spare time you have…)
You can be like everyone else and made cookies: sugar cookies in festive holiday shapes, chocolate cookies with peppermint baked in, gingerbread cookies, white chocolate cranberry cookies if you’re really feeling ambitious. But why not make a crowd-pleaser? The dessert that no one can resist when it’s sitting in a sea of confectionery delights: BROWNIES.
The cool thing about brownies is that there is no one way to make them. And it’s really hard to screw them up. They’re kind of like pizza: even bad brownies are still really good. In my search for the perfect brownie, I discovered that different top chefs have different approaches to the dessert. Here are a few recipes from my favorite go-to celebrity chefs. Find the one that speaks to you and get baking!
Why start with a regular old chocolate brownie? Flay’s take on this scrumptious treat takes a little over two hours to make (with 50 inactive minutes). This certainly isn’t for the beginner chef (or someone who is daunted by several steps) because you’ll be making your own caramel peanut butter and melting the chocolate in your own double boiler. But trust me, it is worth it.
If you’re short on time and/or patience, then this yummy recipe is for you. With only 30 minutes of cook time (and 15 minutes of prep) you can have perfect brownies ready to go. Making them is almost no different than making a batch of cookies—you’re just mixing a few ingredients together and then throwing them in the oven. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
Let’s face it, who doesn’t need a little pick-me-up right about now? Giada’s take on the brownie satisfies your dessert and your coffee needs in one. In a little over an hour (with 30 minutes inactive time) you’ll be scarfing down these beauties. Want to know her secret? She takes a major shortcut and uses a boxed brownie mix. The horror! (Not.) By choosing to go the pre-packaged route, you’re guaranteed delicious results (she prefers Duncan Hines). But you can still brag to your friends because you’ll still be changing the recipe to give the brownies an espresso flair (topped with a vanilla espresso glaze).
Emeril’s brownies have you topping the decadent dessert with a chocolate icing. You can’t go wrong with that. In one hour and fifteen minutes (including 55 minutes of cook time), bam! (I couldn’t resist) you’ll have fudgie perfection. You won’t need a double boiler for this one, but you will need to melt about a cup of vegetable shortening to mix into the other ingredients. Easy peasy.
If you’re familiar with Ina’s cooking, it should come as no surprise that this particular recipe calls for a pound of butter. But a little butter never hurt anyone, right? She also uses semisweet chocolate along with unsweetened chocolate, and throws in instant coffee and walnuts as well. Outrageous is right. You’ll be enjoying your batch in about an hour (35 minutes cook time).