BASIC BROWNIES

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Are there many things better than a perfectly fudgy brownie, when you are craving chocolate? There is a place for a cake-like brownie, or a flavored one (mint and chocolate, I can’t forsake you…), or the kind that you is so dense with chocolate that you need to take a nap after (the Barefoot Contessa’s outrageous brownies top this category). But it is key to have a go-to basic recipe: the perfect balance between cake and fudge in texture, with a top that shatters slightly under the teeth and freezes beautifully.

BASIC CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Adapted from Joy of Baking
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter, diced
2 T. cocoa powder
1 c. sugar (reduce if using semisweet chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temp.
3/4 c. flour
pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-in square pan and line with parchment paper. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter. Take off the heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk in vanilla and eggs, and then flour and salt. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Take the brownies out when a tester comes out with a little batter on it (you want to almost slightly underbake them–they will stay more moist this way and will freeze better).
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WHITE BEAN HUMMUS

White Bean Hummus

adapted from Orangette

3 garlic cloves
One 15-ounce can of white beans–drained and rinsed
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup tahini
1 teaspoon salt (I use Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt–because it rocks)
1 teaspoon cumin (or more or less)
ground pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
water
Puree the garlic cloves. Scrap down the sides and add the remaining ingredients. Puree. Add enough water to make the hummus the desired consistency. Add additional seasonings if you wish. If you want to be like me (it’s hard for some to resist), sweep up the hummus that remains in the food processor with a carrot.

BANANA CHAI GINGER SMOOTHIE

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I love ginger. I love the smell and the pleasant burn in my throat when I consume it in large quantities. This smoothie can be tweaked to your liking as you go along. It’s refreshing, creamy, and packs a ginger-y punch!
Banana Chai Ginger Smoothie (1 large serving or 2 small)
About 1 frozen banana
About 1/4 cup chai tea concentrate (black tea, vanilla, spices, and honey–available at most grocery stores)
About 1/2 cup milk
Fresh ginger to taste, sliced (I use at least one 2-inch chunk)
Puree all and adjust the ingredient amounts until you’re satisfied!