When you have six (yes, six!) pregnant friends, your life explodes with things you’ve never thought about before. Boppys and Bella Bands™ and “Baby Signs.” Whether swings should move to and fro, side-to-side, or in a strange half-curve (like the old lady’s chair zipping up the staircase in “Gremlins”). Sonograms and homemade baby food and nursery themes and names. And NO ONE CAN EAT THE SAME THINGS. Seriously. One craves burgers. One can’t stand the smell of ground beef. One craves hot wings. One can’t do spices.
It’s nice to have something simple to fall back on, like the Barefoot Contessa’s Brownie Pudding, one of this month’s Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipes. The prep is simple, and the chocolate flavor is intense. The surface forms a thin, crunchy layer, but underneath, it’s soft and rich and gooey. And a little goes a long way. Seriously, two parts vanilla ice cream to one part chocolate is pretty perfect. If you’re having friends over, take it easy, and make the pudding in one big baking dish. Or, scale it back for one or two, and bake it in ramekins.
So, any gift suggestions for this village of newborns? What was your favorite baby gift? Do you wish you’d gotten more of something? Less? Please, help. Seriously.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the butter, and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together, and set aside.
- When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise (if using) and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Slowly pour in the cooled butter, and mix again just until combined.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish, and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish; bake for 1 hour. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
- Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.