I despise deceit. For a person or a product to pass themselves off as something other than what they are is horrible. And the most egregious offender in my experience (besides politicians) is grocery store brownies.
As a child the grocery store item that called to me most was the bakery display of frosted brownies. They looked so delicious. I loved brownies; I loved frosting; how could these be anything but wonderful? Once my mother caved to my pleading and bought me a brownie. It was so disappointing - the brownie was stale and dry and the frosting was bland and greasy. Gross. I don't think I could even finish it (which of course produced a nervous tic in my mother who couldn't understand how I could whine for something for so long and then not even eat it!).
To this day, I still pass by the bakery displays and hiss under my breath, "Deceitful food!"
These brownies, however, will not disappoint. I took my favorite brownie recipe that makes wonderfully moist, dense brownies, studded with chocolate and nuts, added buttercream frosting, and a glazing of ganache. Each element is individually tasty, and put together, just fabulous! Trust me, what you see is what you get.
Triple-Layer Trustworthy Brownies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 Tbsp water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; remove immediately from heat.
2- Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and vanilla extract until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and cool completely.
3- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
4- In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda.
5- Stir in eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually stir in flour mixture until smooth.
6- Stir remaining chocolate morsels and nuts into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
7- Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Don't overbake, though, as that will give you dried out brownies. Better to underbake and have fudgy brownies than overbake and have something grocery store worthy.
8- Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Buttercream Frosting Layer:
1-1/2 Tbsp really softened butter
3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp milk
In a medium bowl with a hand mixer beat butter and sugar together; add vanilla and milk. Beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
* To frost a 2-layer cake, multiply these amounts by 4. And now that you know how to make delicious frosting, just say no to canned frosting!
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp heavy cream
Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is very hot and steamy but not boiling. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it slowly over the chocolate. Stir the cream into the chocolate. As you stir, the chocolate will melt and become incorporated into the cream, resembling a pudding consistency. Cool to room temperature.
After the brownies are thoroughly cooled, frost with the buttercream frosting. After that, gently spread on the ganache layer. Then put the whole pan into the refrigerator to set. When you're ready to serve the brownies, allow them to warm up a little so the ganache won't crack when you cut the pieces.