Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mom's Picnic Brownies

This is one of my mom's classics. Growing up whenever we'd have a picnic, camping trip or day at the beach she made these brownies. The smell of opening up the tupperware container of brownies is definitely one of my favorites. Oh, and these are good if you need something for a crowd. You could make them in a 9 x 13 pan, but my mom has always done it in a 10 x 15 pan. You can serve quite a few friends that way, and I promise everyone will enjoy!

I think these are best described as a cake-like brownie with delicious chocolatey frosting. I love that such simple ingredients like butter, powdered sugar, cocoa and a little milk can make such a finger licking frosting treat. On my mom's original recipe, she doesn't give any measurements for the frosting, so I'm giving you approximate amounts. It all depends on how much frosting you want on your brownies. But if you have extra, might I make a suggestion? Have some graham crackers on hand and spread some frosting on them to make little sandwiches. You can even put them in the freezer (you can do that with the brownies too!) to have as a sweet snack some other time!

Picnic Brownies
courtesy of my mom

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cubes butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional, of course -- but I say add them in!)

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 10 x 15 pan. Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Mix in flour cocoa and salt. Fold in the nuts.
Pour into greased pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
16 oz. (1 box) powdered sugar
1/2 cube butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
milk

Mix together the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Add in cocoa powder and start with 2-3 tablespoons of milk. Add in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting has reached desired consistency. You can also add in a little more cocoa if you want your frosting to be more chocolately. Mix all ingredients completely. (One thing my mom taught me is the longer you beat the frosting the lighter and more whipped it will be. I usually let it mix in the Kitchenaid for about 5 minutes.) Once the frosting is finished, spread onto cooled brownies.
Don't discard the extra frosting! Get out those graham crackers and make some dessert sandwiches!

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