Message in a Bottle
A Favorite Recipe from a Favorite Cookbook

Island Books

It was given to me as a gift in 2007, and I readily admit this is the book that broadened my kitchen horizons. My mom used Joy of Cooking, but Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has become my turn-to cookbook in the kitchen. It really does have every basic dish you could want, and the simple, straightforward manner makes every recipe seem like something anyone can do. I’ve even learned to rival my mother’s matzo ball soup, and that’s no small feat.

This isn’t a cooking blog, but to fully demonstrate why How to Cook Everything is so great I thought I’d share my secret twist on the brownie recipe, which itself is the best around. Add a little mint extract and some chocolate chips and you might find yourself sneaking into the kitchen at 2am to eat these before your kids can get to them.

Oh, and if you make some and feel extra nice, bring them into the store. We won’t complain.

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

Makes 1 dozen

Prep time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 12 oz. / 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

  • 1. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally (you can do this in a double boiler pan too, that’s what I use). When the chocolate is just about melted, remove from the heat.
  • 2. Measure the sugar in a bowl and add the chocolate/butter mixture. Beat in the eggs. Add flour, salt, vanilla, and mint extract and stir until smooth. Add chocolate chips.
  • 3. Pour into the pan and bake about 20 to 25 minutes, when the brownies are barely firm and a knife can be inserted and come out clean. Cool for awhile on a rack before cutting, if you can wait. Or don’t.

—Miriam