Monday, June 16, 2008

"Among life's mysteries is how a two pound box of chocolate can make a woman gain five pounds." ~ Anonymous

I don't love chocolate as much as most people I know, but I don't cook for just myself. I love to cook for others.

The Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I invited my in-laws (his parents and his sister and her family) over for a cook-out. We fixed my son, Christopher's, recipe for ribs, which I will share after the 4th of July weekend because he is making them for a family reunion dinner). Along with that, I served a big fruit salad, a tomato-cucumber-onion salad, and a pasta salad made with orzo. My mother-in-law could not get passed the fact that the "pasta" salad looked like rice, but wasn't rice. All afternoon, she kept asking anyone who would listen, "Did you try the salad? It's pasta. It's not rice."

When she was getting ready to go home, she asked for a small container of the pasta salad to take with her. She wanted to take it to Richard. Richard is the head cook at the retirement community where my in-laws live. I told her, "Mom, I think Richard probably knows how to make pasta salad." But she was determined, "I want to take it to him and tell him that it's not rice." I don't know why, but her fascination with the orzo still makes me laugh.

But this isn't about the pasta salad. It's about the brownies I made for dessert.

I searched my cookbooks and the internet for an easy but special dessert that I hadn't tried before when I came across Ina Garten's Oreo Crunch Brownies recipe. I had every intention of making them. They sounded and looked delicious. But after I had time to think about it, I just couldn't do it to my aging in-laws. A full pound of butter, over half a dozen eggs and a pound and a half of chocolate !! I'd be rushing them to the hospital with instantaneous coronary blockage !! I opted to recreate the brownies with a brownie mix and oreo cookies. They turned out delicious and were a hit. We gave our guests the option of a plain brownie or ala mode. They all chose theirs to be served with ice cream, but everyone had a second brownie without ice cream, too.

Try them and I think you will agree.

Oreo Crunch Brownies
by Terri Powers for Terri's Table

1 box Duncan Hines Family Style Brownies, Chewy Fudge
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
40 Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the whole cookies into a large zip lock bag. With a mallet or rolling pin, crush the cookies into medium sized pieces (not too fine. You'll want some larger chunks.) Set aside.

Grease a 12 X 9 inch baking pan with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the Brownie mix, eggs, water and vegetable oil as directed on package for "fudgy brownies." Add the crushed cookies and mushed up cookie filling to the brownie batter. Mix until the cookie crumbs are coated with batter.

Gently spread the batter evenly into the baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until done. Cool completely. Frost, if desired, and cut to serve. I did not frost my brownies and I cooled them in the refrigerator before I cut them (the cold brownies don't fall apart when you cut them.)

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