Mornings in Colorado begin with layers. First, a pair of leggings and a tight shirt. Then my sweatpants, a long-sleeved top, and a hooded jacket. Margot waits patiently for me at the door as I add a hat, a scarf, and finally my pair of mittens. After living in Austin for 2 1/2 years, I got spoiled with their mild winters. It’s taken me a few weeks to adjust to 30 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:00 in the morning.
But as soon as I step outside, and that cold, dry air hits my face, I understand why I live in Colorado. As I walk up the hill from my house, I’m confronted with tree-covered mountains. On most mornings, the moon still sits in the sky, just above the left-most peak. As I walk down the hill, I see the city, bathed in early morning light. Sunrises in Colorado are beautiful.
And then I’m back in the house, where it’s warm and breakfast is already on the stove. I make a mug of tea, and I sit and write letters and emails to my friends (many of which who now live far away). Margot settles down after her morning walk, finding the highest pillow on our couch to snuggle up with. She barks more here, but that’s because we have deer and rabbits that taunt her. Far more exciting than the family of squirrels that lived on our street in Austin.
On the best days, I bake something sweet for my family. We have had dinner after dinner together, and I don’t know if I’ll ever grow tired of our gatherings. Earlier this week, my mother made a pot roast, and I made a batch of these white chocolate brownies. My family, though they love me, are expert dessert eaters and aren’t shy about what they do and don’t like. When my older sister, Susanne, pronounced that these were some of the best brownies she had ever tasted, I took her compliment for what it was: the honest truth.
What I love about these brownies is their simplicity. Any baker, from beginning to advanced, can make a batch of these on a whim. Moist and fudgy with just the right amount of chocolate balanced by sweetness, these brownies are worth making and sharing, again and again. I added white chocolate chips to the batter, but if you prefer your brownies darker, milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips work perfectly. Just remember, the higher quality of chocolate you use, the better your brownies will taste. I bought bars of Ghirardelli. And by the end of the night, only one square was left.
White Chocolate Brownies
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper; butter or grease well. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Alternately, melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the chopped chocolate (far easier, believe me).
2. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips and pour the batter into t he prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares with a plastic knife (trust me, this does wonders!).