The Brownie Project: Round One

A few weeks ago, we got a real hankering for brownies at Ellie Bluebell's House.  Okay, maybe it was just me wanting them, but once I mentioned the idea of making some brownies to Natalie, she wanted them really bad, too.

I started looking for a recipe.  We just happened to have grabbed a book at the library on our last visit, Sesame Street B is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together.  Sure enough, there was a brownie recipe in it.  "Elmo's Best Brownies In The West" sounded very promising.  Elmo wouldn't lie to us about his brownies being the best, would he?

So Natalie donned the darling apron she got for her birthday, and we got down to business.  The recipe was easy and pretty straightforward.  You can see much of it in this picture.  However, it will not be reprinted here because I was so frustrated with the results the book went straight back to the library before I realized I needed the recipe for blog purposes.  I can get a little rash when it comes to food, and especially when it comes to baked goods.

We had a great time mixing and measuring and we substituted the recipe's olive oil for applesauce, which made me worry they would be too sweet.  Alas, I needn't have worried.

My first clue that this recipe was going to disappoint was the pan size recommended: 9x13.  I could tell by looking at the quantity of ingredients that it was going to yield sadly flat, thin brownies.  Is there anything sadder than a flat brownie?  Maybe it's just me, but I like mine nearly cubic.  Think Rubic's Cube in size and stature.  Fat, tall and gooey, please!

But I went with the recipe's recommendation, just to test it.  After they baked, Natalie and I sat down and each had one.  She seemed quite happy, but other than the fact that we had just baked together without destroying the kitchen or each other, I was not pleased.  They were not very sweet (despite the applesauce substitution) and quite cakey (probably because of the applesauce substitution).

Pan size is wrong.  Did Elmo even test this recipe before the book came out?


But - if you like your brownies cakey, thin, and not very sweet, by all means try dumb old Elmo's recipe.  Get the book from the library in case you hate it.  If you end up with the copy we had you can see the comments I angrily added to the recipe with my fine-point Sharpie.  I expect to have my library card revoked any day now.

With all the brownie recipes out there in the world, I thought, 'what's the best one?'  Since everyone likes their brownies a bit different, you can't just go by star ratings on allrecipes.  No.  For us to find our very favorite brownie recipe in the whole world, we were going to have to make lots and lots and lots of brownies.

And thus, the Brownie Project was born.  Natalie and I decided we'd make a different recipe each week, to find our favorite.  We promise not to make any further substitutions so as to preserve the integrity of each recipe.  (But if I come across olive oil in any other recipes I might have to make an exception.  Seriously, olive oil?  Hork)

Stay tuned, and we'll soldier on bravely until we find the one that is best!  Best to us, anyway.  If you have a favorite you'd like to submit for the Project, please share it!

ROUND ONE OFFICIAL VERDICT: Elmo's Best Brownies in the West from Sesame Street B is for Baking

1 out of 5

Sadly thin and cakey.  Not sweet enough.  High marks from a motivational aspect, however, because they were so bad that this project was created.  Elmo, we would appreciate if you actually tested your recipes before you put out a book.

And, you know, it's not like we threw the brownies away.  They were eaten.  We do not waste food at Ellie Bluebell's House.

Next up: Fudge Brownies from Gold Medal Flour's Alpha Bakery Children's Cookbook.