Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday Brownies

Yesterday we threw kiddle #1 a hoppin' 6th birthday bash. Following the cues of his latest obsession: Star Wars, I rented a movie projector and an 8 ft. screen. We blacked out the windows in our living room, and set up rows of chairs to simulate a movie theater experience, and ran "Clone Wars" to an essentially full house. At my local party supply store I found mini popcorn boxes, and I offered the little critters a choice of buttered or caramel chocolate (guess which one I ran out of inside the first hour...). I was amazed by how long most of these kids could sit watching a 98 minute movie.
While there is definitely an argument to be made for contracting out kiddie parties, I am a sucker for at-home fiestas. I love the homespun, cozy, old-school feel of it all. I love coming up with a theme with the birthday kid and following it through from decorations to tableware to party favors. And I gotta give myself props for locating inexpensive lightsabers and handing them out at the finale- the kids were loopy for these glow sticks. They shut off the lights in the rec room and had glow-in-the-dark duels, and that's right about when the party came to a close- and to our relief without injury or incident (something I don't take for granted).
The cake was a pile of brownies festooned with b'day candles. We decided that dessert (after the obligatory pizza course) would be brownie hot fudge sundaes. I whipped up a couple of batches of brownies (recipe below) and made a pretty good hot fudge sauce- good, not great because it was a touch too sweet. I provided the option of whipped cream, and set out bowls of M&M's, sprinkles, crushed oreo's, and mini marshmallows. They were free to decorate their dollop of vanilla ice cream laden brownies to their hearts content, and believe me they did.
I tried to finish my concoction but couldn't go further than spoonful #4- too rich, too sweet, too much. However I had no trouble scarfing down a couple of these brownies straight. They're made with 13 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, so they are not too sweet, are rich and full of deep chocolate-ness.

Birthday Brownies (adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe)
Grease your brownie pan and preheat oven to 350F. In a heavy saucepan melt 1 1/2 c. butter and 13 oz. chopped semi sweet chocolate, let cool a little. In a bowl beat 6 eggs, 1 tbsp. vanilla, and 1 2/3 c. of sugar. In another bowl mix 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour and 1/2 tsp. salt. Beat melted chocolate into the egg mixture, and then add the flour. Beat to combine, and then pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes ( I like my btownies firm and almost cake-like).

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