Bonnie: Most everyone loves brownies as they are easy to make — just combine a couple of ingredients and pour into a pan — and irresistibly decadent. Seriously, who can resist a warm brownie and a cold glass of milk?
Some, like my friend Jan and I, prefer the gooey insides of baked brownies. Others look for the crusty edges, wishing for more. These brownie-edge lovers will take delight in this heavy-gauge, aluminum maze-shaped pan. The Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan holds 11 cups of batter, about one recipe or (heaven-forbid) a box mix of brownies, resulting in chewy edges on each and every brownie.
One of my favorite recipes from my baking cookbook (365 Great Cookies & Brownies) was a result of my niece’s visit. You see, I was in the midst of testing for that cookbook in the early ‘90s, when my niece Kelda arrived for the weekend.
“Pick a flavor, any flavor,” I pleaded as she walked through the door into the kitchen where I had flour, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate, nuts and dried fruits on every kitchen surface. “I’m running out of ideas.”
(Three-hundred-and-sixty-five different, creative cookies and brownies is a huge quantity.)
Without skipping a beat, she responded, “Mint. Chocolate mint.”
My face lit up, as I love that combination. That weekend’s baking produced at least six mint-based recipes for the book, including my transportive Chocolate Mint Mania Bars.
When I first created the recipe, Nestles made Mint-Chocolate Morsels. No longer. So I had to revise the bars to include their regular chocolate morsels plus pure peppermint extract. (Do not even think of using imitation!) Addicting as these are, they were even more so with those defunct mint-chocolate chips.
To make Chocolate Mint Mania Bars, melt 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate and 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter. Stir in 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs (one at a time), 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Mix in 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 cups chocolate chips. Bake in a greased 9×13 pan in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
After publication of the book, Eric became the family baker and was even hired by Jan (yes, same one!) to bake these mint mania bars for a party. He’s been baking ever since.
Bryan: Call me crazy, but I like the crust. I didn’t know that this was odd until I got into meals outside of my immediate family (all crust-lovers). I’m not saying I was that kid not peeling the sides off of a PB&J sandwich, but I was surely the kid that was picking up all my friends pizza crusts and unclaimed bread ends. There is something about the doughy end of a baked item, where all the goodness, crispness and chewiness seem to congregate. My aunt is the queen of crust-lovers and has actually gone so far as to give her husband a Christmas present consisting of a box of bread ends (as he almost never gets a whiff of them at the dinner table).
Maybe we’ll have to ship this new Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan over to them this holiday season because now everybody gets a chewy end!
Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan leaves two delicious, chewy edges on every brownie. The pan’s patented sidewalls circulate heat evenly for better cooking with fewer undercooked middles and burned ends. You don’t have to worry about re-portioning, as the pan is designed to fit box mixes and recipes for 9×9-inch or 9×13-inch pans; nonstick coating and a custom spatula round out this set for a perfect gift. It’s truly an ingenious “why didn’t I think of that” product!
Eric: Although I am the baker of the family, I probably eat the least amount of baked goods. One of the main reasons behind their non-appeal, aside from knowing what goes into the butter-laden concoctions, is that most brownies, cookies, etc. are “chewy” and soft, lacking a welcome “crunch.” Just like my brother and my mother who’d probably fight you with the bread knife for the ends of the bread, I also enjoy the part of a baked item where the so-called “crispness and chewiness” congregate. My longing for an all-around crunchiness in a brownie reminds me of a Seinfeld episode in which one of the characters suggests opening a bakery that specializes in only baking the top of the muffins (“Top of the Muffin to you!”); fortunately, such a world now exists.
One of the closest attempts to fulfilling my search for the perfect brownie arrived at my door in the shape of the Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan. The labyrinth-like design, along with the heavy cast iron (aluminum) “feel,” made me believe that this pan could produce my dream brownie. I immediately pre-heated the oven, grabbed ingredients and beat together one of my favorite blondie bar recipes. Because of the design of the pan, which allows for less overall volume, the baking time for the brownies is reduced by a few minutes. I patiently left the brownies to cool, grabbed the customized spatula and dug in. To my amazement, I was biting into a thinner, crunchier, blondie bar; my only disappointment was that I didn’t have any milk with which to wash it down.
The Edge Brownie pan would make a great gift for any brownie lover; so this December 8 — “National Brownie Day” — break out your favorite recipe and indulge with some crispy, crunchy,