Friday, October 1, 2010

Axes, Roses, or Chocolate

In preparation for school this year my daughter rearranged her room furniture. Again. I didn't have a problem with that as I remember I did the same thing about four times a year when I was her age.

The problem with rearranging the furniture is that there really are a limited number of configurations your can achieve, what with windows, the closet, the length and width of the bed, and the immutable fact that the head of the bed must always, ALWAYS have a clear view of the door and the closet.

Back then, before going to bed I'd check the closet and then shut the door securely. My rational mind knew that there was no way anything could come out of the closet, but the more primitive part of my mind knew without a shadow of a doubt that unless you kept a watchful eye on the door at all times, ANYTHING could come out of it.

My rational side and my primitive side would have discussions at night as I dozed off to sleep.

"How on earth could anything come out of the closet? I just checked in there!"

"Then why did we just hear a creak?"

"Because it's an old house! Old houses creak."

"But what if it's not the house? What if it's a blood-thirsty axe murderer who hid in the shadows of the closet and is going to pop out and slaughter me as soon as my eyes close?"

"Oh for Pete's sake! What are the odds of that happening? I think there are better odds that it's a really handsome guy who's waiting to pop out and surprise you with flowers and chocolates."

Eventually, worn out from all the arguing, I'd go to sleep. I'm happy to report that I never had either the axe wielder or the rose toter sneak out of my closet. But just to be on the safe side, when we bought our house, I removed all the closet doors. Now we're safe from axe murderers, but we're on our own for the flowers and chocolates.

I buy flowers at the store when the urge strikes, and when I have a chocolate craving, I make brownies.

The only thing scary about these is having a 9 x 13 pan of deliciousness lurking in the refrigerator. Be prepared to share, or else they might leap out onto your thighs the next time you open the refrigerator door.

Salted Peanut Brownies
- adapted from a Dorie Greenspan recipe in Bon Appetite

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1 cup chunky peanut butter (do not use natural or old-fashioned)*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

(* I didn't have chunky peanut butter on hand, so I chopped up about 1/4 cup of peanuts and put them in a 1 cup measure and filled the rest of the cup with smooth peanut butter.)

1- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving 3 inches of overhang; butter foil.

2- Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat.

3- Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan.

4- Bake about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Place pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

5- To make the peanut butter layer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl with an electric mixer.. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg, then milk and vanilla. Spread over brownies.

6- In heavy small saucepan, stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; using a flexible spatula, spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours.

7- Using foil overhang as handles, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.


Karen Baking Soda said...

Awww for a moment I thought/wished/hoped that there was a layer of caramel there.. I already held a whisk to fight off the axe-men.

Universal! Three kids, two of them always always want a clear view of the door. One of them needs to have his build in closet door closed. And preferably locked. One of them is the re-arranger. The other one couldn't care less.
The third? Got no fantasy no fears no need for changing his room. When there's a bed and enough horizontal surface to pile his stuff he's fine.
And brownies. That too.

Karen Baking Soda said...

Oh and eh.. when the Hubbie is away for business? I close the build in closet. And position myself so that I have a view of the bedroom door. Ahem.

Unknown said...

Hehehe I still do that. My eyes keep darting nervously between the door and the closet. THose brownies look absolutely amazing though, good enough to deter any axe weilding murderer.

kickpleat said...

Wow, totally deluxe brownie! I usually just make a simple chocolate kind, delicious but I like this variation. And as a kid, I was freaked about my closet. Phew.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

No axe murderers in my closet, they live under the bed. I still catch myself not hanging any arms or legs over the side of the bed in case I should wake up with an appendage missing.Maybe I should feed him.her brownies and then she/he would not be hungry.

Anonymous said...

yes! Feed the axe murderer you brownies, he'll drop on his knees AND his axe in gratitude.

The College Baker said...

I totally did that as a kid! Being in California, I also was petrified of being asleep when an earthquake struck - I'm sorry to say that my mom had many sleepless nights because of that fear.
And for the record, this brownie recipe looks so good! Definitely going to put it in my "Brownies to Try" Folder :)

Katie said...

I used to love rearranging my room too - not done that for years!
The brownies look fantastic - I want to reach into the screen and eat one!

daphne sy said...

Oh brownies!!!I stocked up! I can't wait to try your it!

What my site: healthyflat

scrambledhenfruit said...

Peanut butter and chocolate are a great combination- these look scrumptious!

Barbara said...

I used to think someone was coming out of the heating vent under my bed. It continued until I moved out of that room! The things we imagine as kids!

But these brownies are NOT something to worry about. Love that salt/sweet combo,Lynn!

Debbie said...

I totally understand the closet thing. My son always makes sure his closet is securely closed before going to bed at night. It HAS to be shut! Those brownies look delicious and my mouth is never shut for brownies!!!!

Tara said...

Oh you brought me back to my childhood. And now that I'm married, I need to sleep closest to the case an axe murdered DOES come out of the closet. It's like when there's a bear chasing a group of long as you're not the slowest runner... HA!

At least there are rational things like salted peanut brownies!!

Kitchen Corner said...

This piece of luxury brownie looks yummy! A slice for my afternoon tea would be great!

grace said...

your title made me think of axl rose and i had to take a moment to rock out a headbang. :)

Homemade Heaven said...

I never move furniture - I grew up with a mother who was always moving furniture. I would come home and have to ask where my bedroom was! The only room she couldn't mess with was the kitchen - although, bless her heart she did make some mess in there.
I made a chocolate and peanut fudge with salted peanuts and a little extra salt flakes - huge success. Everyone loved the sweetness and then the cheeky salt bite in between. Love your brownies.

Elle said...

Chocolate and peanuts...a match made in heaven and too delish for the spook in the closet.

eatme_delicious said...

These brownies look SO amazing! I'd love one right now.