"Ooh how cool would those pine cones look on our boards!"
So we set out to give it a go....but with a twist, we used a cherished family recipe for homemade brownies, ditching the boxed mix for something more nostalgic, not to mention DELECTABLE!
We're excited to share our take on this delightful dessert, along with our baking insights – and, of course, our special family brownie recipe.
Baking Experience: Fun, Yet Challenging
The final product was impressive ( as our photos proudly show on our Sprout Board ) but undoubtedly more challenging than we first thought. It wasn't that the recipe was complicated, but rather more involved – especially the delicate task of placing almond slices (Charlene's task, since I kept breaking them) and the inevitably messy process of working with melted chocolate. A crucial tip: use SLICED almonds.
Great for Adults, Considerations for Kids
I'd recommend a trial run first if you plan to involve kids. The fragile nature of the cones and the messiness of the chocolate might be a bit much for younger children, so perhaps ten years or older would be ideal.
Key Learning: The Art of Melting Chocolate
An important lesson occurred while assisting with the chocolate melting – a technique I thought I had down pat. In haste, I cranked up the heat, melting the chocolate too quickly, leading to a thick, stubborn chocolate mix. Our fix? Adding coconut oil as the recipe suggested, but we had to use more due to my hasty heating. Still too thick and risking an overpowering coconut flavor, in a pinch, we used 3% milk to thin it out. This worked but it made the chocolate more temperature-sensitive, thus solidifying the plan to serve these brownies chilled, just as recommended.
Melting Chocolate Tip: Since realizing melting chocolate is a little tricker then expected here is an important tip. When you're melting chocolate, and it suddenly turns grainy or pasty, that's what we call "seizing." This frustrating situation can happen for a couple of reasons. First, if your chocolate gets too hot, it's game over - you've burned it. Chocolate is pretty sensitive to heat, so always go low and slow when melting it. Secondly, even a tiny splash of water can cause big problems. Water causes the chocolate's structure to change, leading to that unappealing seized texture.
To avoid this mess:
Make sure your equipment is bone dry, and be careful not to let any water near the chocolate.
Remember, patience is key here.
Keep that heat low and give your chocolate the gentle, dry environment to melt into smooth perfection.
Do NOT add too much chocolate at once.
Lessons Learned and Recipes to Share
This baking journey was more than just creating a batch of brownies; it was a lesson in patience and the art of delicate handling, particularly when it comes to the tricky business of melting chocolate. It also highlighted that Charlene should never overestimate my baking skills – except, of course, when it comes to taste testing. In that department, I'm a pro!
Want To Try It?
Are you tempted to try your own Pine Cone Brownie adventure? If so, we’ve got you covered. . Click here to access the detailed "Pine Cone Brownies" recipe – it’s brilliantly crafted and sure to inspire. But for a truly unforgettable experience, make it with Charlene’s Grama's time-honored family brownie recipe! These brownies are moist, chewy, and oh so chocolatey delicious – a taste that you’re going to love. Happy Baking!
We'd love to hear about your experiences with this recipe or any adaptations you've made. Share your stories and let's keep this baking adventure going!
Our Family Chocolate Brownies Recipe
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
8 heaping tbsp cocoa
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat sugar and butter until creamy.
Blend in eggs and vanilla.
Add flour and cocoa; do not over-mix.
Pour into greased 9x13” pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center.
NOTE: If you want to try this as a stand-alone brownie recipe, here is the icing that goes with it:
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp softened butter
2 tbsp milk
Make sure to beat the icing ingredients well and put on the brownies when they are still warm.