Though I love to bake, I often don’t do it because not only do I work at home, my husband (and fellow romance author) Nico Rosso also works at home. That means I have no office to take my baked goods to, and if I bake anything, Nico and I wind up eating it all. Delicious, but not particularly healthy. So I adapted a brownie recipe from Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Dessert Book to create a perfect little batch of brownies, just the right size for Nico and me.
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4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon brewed coffee or water
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken up or coarsely chopped
½ ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla (or use a favorite liqueur or extract)
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Optional add ins: ½ cup chopped nuts, ½ cup chocolate chips, ½ cup of your favorite candy bar chopped up, caramel sauce to drizzle on the batter before baking, or whatever you like! For this batch, I cut up Reese’s Mini Cups and stirred them into the completed batter.
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°. Line a 6-by6 inch baking pan (or the equivalent volume—you could even use muffin tins, just watch the baking time) with aluminum foil, (letting the foil overhang the ends of the pan by about 2 inches), and coat the foil with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, sugar and coffee (or water) just to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in both chocolates until they are completely melted. Let cool to warm. (Don’t skip the cooling step, or else you’ll curdle your eggs in the hot mixture.) Stir the vanilla into the chocolate mixture, then add the egg and mix thoroughly. Stir the flour and salt into the mixture just until the batter is evenly blended. Stir in nuts or any other mix-ins, if using. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly to the edges.
3. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the center is barely firm when tapped, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean except for some wet crumbs clinging to the bottom of the toothpick. Don’t overbake. Better to have fudgy, moist brownies than dry ones. I think that’s written in the Constitution somewhere…
4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Personally, I like my brownies cold, so I usually let them cool on the rack for a few minutes, then pop them in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
5. Using the overhanging foil as handles, transfer the brownie slab to a cutting board. Peel off and discard the foil. Use a large, sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the slab into bars.
6. As I said, I like them best really cold, so I store mine in a container in the refrigerator. You can also keep them stored airtight at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. Or even store airtight in the freezer for up to a month. But somehow, I doubt they’ll last that long.
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Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn't hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.
But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner's trick to some members of the ton. They'll never see Leo as their equal - one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.
Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo's brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo's dark powers can't last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband...or lose her heart.
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