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A few weeks ago, we had to go out of town for…you guessed it, baseball.  But our oldest daughter, Madeline didn’t want to go.  She felt like she couldn’t miss her gymnastics practice. We appreciated her level of dedication and it was decided that she’d stay with a friend for the three nights we would be gone. This was the start of a thank you gift that included some ooey, gooey brownies!

Back to the story! What a great friend, with ridiculously awesome parents for agreeing to have another kid hang around for a long weekend! We were so thankful!

When we got back, Madeline told us of the many fun things she had done. They’d painted mugs at a pottery place.  Gone to eat out at a giant, kid heaven buffet!  They had even gotten to ride go carts.  So fun!  I almost wish I’d stayed.  So, we decided a thank you note was in order.

Thank You Cards

My parents used to make us write thank you cards.  We hated it, of course.  But apparently their brainwashing worked because I find that I am now a person who realizes the value of taking a few minutes to write a sweet and heartfelt thank you to someone that goes out of their way to do something nice.  I think if more people wrote thank you’s the world would be a better place!  Less war and all that jazz….

So, Madeline wrote a thank you.  Just a few sentences but it was specific and sweet and funny!  She even went the extra mile and painted the outside envelope.  Personal touches are so important!  We added a gift card but wanted to do a little more.  If you know me at all, you know that food is my love language, so it was decided that brownies would be the last bit of our -thank you for taking care of our awesome daughter- gift!

Want to make cards at home?    

Let’s Bake

I’ve admitted before and I’ll confess it again that I don’t always make everything from scratch.  Sometimes it’s an emergency and you need a cake or brownies as quickly as you can get them baked.  But this was kind of special thing so we made brownies from scratch.  I swear to you it only took an extra five minutes so maybe try it sometime.  If you have a fairly well stocked pantry, I can guarantee you will have everything you need.  See my blog post on the well stocked pantry.

Here’s the recipe

I started with a recipe from the Hershey website because I was using Hershey’s cocoa.  I did modify it a little but we’ll talk about that later.

The Brownie Batter

1 cup butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2t vanilla

2 eggs

1/2c milk

2/3c Hershey’s cocoa powder

1 cup flour

1/2t baking powder

1 cup nuts (I didn’t use nuts since it was a gift and I wasn’t sure about allergies.)

1 package (6 full size bars) of Hershey’s chocolate bars

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Frosting

1 stick butter

4T cocoa powder

6T milk

1lb powdered sugar

1t vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, cocoa powder, flour, baking powder.  (Once mixed you can add nuts if you like.) Spread 1/2 of batter in pan.  Now for the best part! Unwrap and lay out all of the candy bars on the first batter layer.  Cover with the rest of the batter mixture and bake for about 40 minutes.

I am a bit of an over doer when it comes to food. (That’s okay, right?) So, I decided to put a frosting on these delicious brownies.  I went with a frosting that is normally used on a pretty well known cake called Texas Sheet Cake.  It’s one of my favorites and I figured it would be great on brownies, too!  It was!  OOOOEY and GOOOEY!!

When the brownies have about 15 minutes left of baking time, start your frosting.

Melt butter over low/medium heat in saucepan. Add cocoa and milk, stir.  When mixture begins to bubble, take it off the heat and add powdered sugar, a little at a time. (Otherwise you’ll have a gigantic puffball, powdered sugar cloud and probably a huge mess!) Once the sugar is incorporated, add vanilla.

When the brownies come out of the oven, pour the warm frosting over the top. Yep! Just pour the frosting right on the warm brownies! No need to let them cool.

These are delicious and moist and probably best eaten with a fork and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Who wouldn’t want to receive such a delicious thank you!

 

Another fun idea when giving brownies as a gift

I made some brownies for a teachers gift a few months ago.  Like I said, I usually try to add a little extra something.  I made them in little mini muffin pans and drizzled them with melted white chocolate.  Once they had cooled in the refrigerator for thirty minutes, I packaged them in little clear bags and tied them with ribbon.  By baking them in the mini muffin pans and adding the chocolate, they went from a boring old rectangle brownie to a cute and creative gift!!

   

 

If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, get one! You’ll love it!  So many great things you can make that will be so cute in this mini size!

If you don’t need a thank you gift but have a chocolate lover in your family, you can (and should) make this recipe tonight! You’ll be the dessert hero! Happy baking!  – Jill

 

 

 

 

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