I keep getting rid of books and at the same time I keep getting new ones. I order them on line, go to the bookstore, and take books from friends… Books are a give and take thing for me. I don’t want a tablet or an e-reader; just keep that stuff away from me! I want to hold the book in my hands and smell its history. Yes I know it’s the smell of a certain type of bacteria. But I cannot help it, I am a romantic. So how could I possibly resist a public library sale, when older books are sold for a mere dollar? That’s where I bought Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”. Even if I find one good recipe I thought… All right I found more than one, but if you know the book you will surely agree with me that the first choice was a no brainer. 

Good heaven’s Ina’s Brownie Pudding is unbelievably delicious! She suggests serving it with vanilla ice cream, but honestly, you won’t need anything with this other than a spoon. It is the second time I made it, the first time was shortly after my knee surgery and I wanted to make something yummy with minimal amount of work. I was at the “bring me this” and “put that there” stage. So taking photos was the last thing on my mind. But now that I can slowly walk on a flat surface without a cane, I thought I will make this chocoholic’s delight again. Try this once and it will become a regular occurrence. The recipe will feed 4-6 people generously. Not for dieters! 

Well that is how far I got several weeks ago. Which is good thing, because it made me realize I have no reason to be impatient with my recovery. I have come a long way even though I was shaken after climbing down to the first row on Saturday to video tape Olivia’s six dances at the last show her dance school puts on every year. It’s a spectacular production with over five hundred dancers in gorgeous costumes to three sold out audiences.

1 cup unsalted butter 
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1 Tbsp liqueur, optional

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  • Lightly butter an 8 cup baking dish.
  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow.
  • Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set it aside.
    When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, the liquor if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture.
  • Mix only until combined.
  • With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
  • Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan.
  • Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour.
  • Please don’t be impatient and don’t increase the temperatures.
  • The brownie pudding will be ready when a cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean.
  • The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding. Allow to cool a bit and serve.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!