I did my second book signing, for my temple this time. As part of the gig, I prepared several items from the cookbook for people to sample. The items change depending upon the location and logistics (for example I had to cook everything at the temple several days before the event), but for each event I whipped up a batch o'brownies.
Wait ... what ... did you say brownies?
Yes, you heard correctly ... brownies.
Brownies in a slow cooker?
Yes, Dear Reader, brownies in a slow cooker. I can also hear you thinking three questions:
1. are they any good?
2. why in a slow cooker?
3. save me leftovers!
To answer your questions:
1. They are very good.
2. In case your oven is occupied by something else, or it's summer and you don't want to fire up the oven, or you forgot to pay the gas bill again.
3. What's a leftover?
This is a very forgiving recipe. If you undercook the brownies a little, serve as fudgy brownies. If you undercook them a lot, serve with ice cream and call it Mississippi mud cake sundae. If you overcook them a little, serve as cake-y brownies. If you overcook them a lot, slice off the hardened edges and serve them as mandelbrot or biscotti. You can't lose!
I prefer these brownies with butter, but they are still quite good parve with margarine.
Speaking of grease, be sure to hit every inch of the bottom and sides of the foil with whatever you grease the foil with. Brownies have a nasty habit of permanently bonding to any naked spot. And as long as you are lining the crock with said foil, allow at least 4 inches of excess foil all around, in order to easily lift out the brownies.
Because there are no standards for cooking temperatures, the ranges for low and high vary wildly by manufacturer. This usually isn't a problem for recipes calling for 10 or so hours of cooking, but for a recipe with a relatively short cooking time, such as here, you want to keep an eye on the prize. Be sure to check the brownies after 2 hours, then 2 1/2 hours to assure that the edges aren't burning.
I wrapped and froze the brownies whole, defrosting them in the fridge before finally unwrapping and cutting. They were initially hard as rocks, which made cutting by my helper a bit difficult (not to mention causing quite a bit of concern). But as they came up to room temperature, they reverted to their softer, tasty, fudgy selves.
Adapted from The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook
Yield: 12 servings
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut up
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Use a large square of aluminum foil to line bottom and up the sides (by at least 4 inches) of a 4 quart slow cooker. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium-sized heat-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave at high for 45 seconds or until almost melted. Stir until completely melted. Whisk in sugar, then eggs.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the prepared flour mixture into the butter mixture just until blended. Fold in vanilla extract, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Spread chocolate mixture on bottom of prepared cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 3 hours (check after 2 hours). The outer edges should be dry. Leave cover off and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The center should still be a little wet, but will firm up as it cools.
Let cool completely (which might take as long as an hour), then grab the foil and carefully lift brownies from cooker. Cut into 12 or so servings. Share with friends so you won't eat them all yourself.