Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comfort Food

When I'm recovering from a cold, I feel like I deserve a reward. I've suffered! I've endured the 1001 symptoms that they enumerate on TV and gosh darn it, I need a BROWNIE and a cup of tea. Earl Grey, please.
I remember buying this cookie cookbook in downtown LA in the fall of 1984. The night before Mr. Hunting Creek and I had been to the most Horrible Dinner in the history of humankind. We had been invited to stay at a brand new Boutique hotel in a part of downtown that was...well...ahem...not Quite gentrified...at that time. They had a fancy pants chef who made this nouvelle cuisine...no, that's not right...I'm not sure what kind of cuisine it was. It was weird food. I was 7 months pregnant at the time, so it seemed super disgusting, but other, non-pregnant people with us agreed that the food was odd. Time has mercifully dimmed many details, but unfortunately I have not been able to forget the Avocado garlic ice cream with garlic pepper whipped cream on top. It was a color green not usually associated with ice cream and I still feel a little queasy remembering it. The next morning we snuck out of there early and ate breakfast at the Pantry, which was wonderful, and I bought the cookbook in a bookstore we walked by on our way to Union Station.
I read the cookbook on the train all the way back to San Juan Capistrano, and by the time I got home, I had a craving for brownies so bad that I started making them before I had even unpacked.
These brownies are my TNT for emergency desserts, because they are yummy, easy and fast to make. They are the LBD of desserts.
This is Mrs. Witty's recipe with my variations alongside.
You don't have to be pregnant or recovering from a cold to enjoy them.

Quick Brownies (or as Mrs. Witty says, the shortest distance between yourself and a panful of brownies) These are brownies of the "cake" variety, but don't worry, they are plenty moist and delicious)
Get out a bowl, you are going to mix everything together with a spatula.
1/2 cup bland vegetable oil ( I use canola oil, don't substitute other shortening)
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water ( I always use cold coffee leftover from breakfast. Once I used part coffee and part Kahlua.)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, I never use these because my son doesn't like nuts)

Preheat over to 350. Grease an 8"square pan.
Measure all ingredients except chocolate chips and nuts into the bowl and mix until blended. Scrape into prepared pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts( if using) all over the top. I like to use a mixture of chocolate, white chocolate and coffee flavored chips, for fun. Bake for about 35 minutes, until they test dry in the middle. Cool, eat with ice cream. (But not Avocado-garlic ice cream, please)
Mrs. Witty says that they keep for several days but quite frankly, I've never had them hang around that long. I heartily recommend the book, Mrs. Witty's Monster Cookies. I think it is out of print, but I have seen copies available on Amazon for very reasonable prices.


Gorgeous Things said...

Mmmmmmm, that sounds delicious! I think a lot of people can use some comfort foods right now.

fourkid said...

We just got to try these yesterday - they were wonderful!! I say "were" because they only lasted about 6 hours, but all members of the home did get at least one big square. This is a keeper recipe. Thank you Mrs. Hunting Creek - you always have wonderful recipes.