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Chocolate: It’s (Not) Complicated

April 13, 2010

Desert is the nectar of the Gods. It’s meant to be shared between lovers.

Chocolate is my definitely nectar.

In the movie “It’s Complicated” Meryl Streep’s character seduces us with her cooking. You could smell the butter melting in the pan. Suddenly you want to garden and not just any old plot of land, but raised beds neatly lined with cedar trellises. You’ll crave fresh bread. And cake. You’ll want a giant slice of multilayered homemade chocolate cake with whipped icing. Maybe you’ll want it for breakfast.

A restaurateur with an artful way with chocolate, Streep’s character pulls you in from the senses. You don’t even know it’s happening immediately, but suddenly you are ravenous. Your taste buds will overheat. As my Facebook friends returned from seeing the movie this winter they all begin to inquire about the recipes. They started hunting down the list of dishes on Google.

The story is about a divorced 60ish couple, who have an affair and try to hide it from their young adult children. In the course of the movie Alec Baldwin’s character who, by the way, proves to still be a chad, realizes that there are some things about his ex-wife that he should have appreciated more 15 years ago. Like the way she turned him on with her cooking.

The best part of the movie for me was hearing the hushed commentary of people in the audience.

“That’s my worst nightmare. Would never happen.”

“I want cake.”

“What’s wrong with her old kitchen? Why does she have to build a new kitchen? She’s empty nest.”

Let’s go back to the cake. There’s a point in the movie where Streep taunts both her ex and her new guy with a homemade chocolate cake, just like a giant carrot. Everybody wants it.

Sometimes you just have to enjoy life. I’d start with chocolate. I love chocolate. I love to bake it, melt it or eat it straight. Baking a homemade multilayered chocolate cake, however, doesn’t have to be complicated. There are millions of ways to cook and eat chocolate. If you are not Meryl Streep’s character with all her experience, travels and affluence expertise, then you just have to keep it simple when it comes to baking until that time when you decide to make more of a fuss.

For me, when it’s got to be good, but it has to be simple then it has to be Hershey.

I can’t go to a school book sale without finding a thick cardboard cookboard with quick and simple recipes for baking with Hershey’s products. What I like about these cookbooks is that you can make something amazing, something that makes everyone at home happy, with ingredients that be found in every grocery store in the region. Simple and affordable.

Here is the easiest chocolate dessert. This never gets old for me. It lasts about two days, depending on the number of visitors in the kitchen having  just another sliver at midnight. Oh, and it’s anything but complicated.  I added chocolate chips at the last minute, which you can see in the photo)

Hershey’s Best Brownies

1cup (2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

¾ cup Hershey’s cocoa or Hershey’s Dutch Processed Cocoa

1 cup of all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup of choppe nuts.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 in baking pan.

Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa, beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away. Cool completely in pan in wire rack. Cut into bars. Make about 36 brownies.

I made this brownie recipe with a heart shaped pan. I greased the pan, lined it with parchment paper. Greased the top of that and then poured the batter in it. It makes a very simple presentation that everyone devours.

Hershey's Best Brownies

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