Whenever I’m invited somewhere, for a meal, obviously I offer to bring something. I let the host choose; appetizer, dessert, whatever, their choice.

Do you always offer? When you host, do you let people bring items to contribute?

1 thing I’ve learned (well, amongst the many): allow people to bring something when you host. It makes them feel valuable. No matter how big or small their contribution is, let them bring something they are good at. For instance, a single guy in his 20’s, don’t ask him to bring anything more then drinks or chips and a jar of salsa. I’m going to guess his strength isn’t busting out a chocolate layer cake, spanakopita, or a dish of bread pudding. Now his girlfriend, she might be able to bust out a killer dish to bring. So know your guests, and ask them appropriately.

We were going to a friend’s house for his graduation party. Graduating from Fuller Seminary, with his M.A.T. Folks, that 96 units. I know because my husband completed it and graduated last year. It THOUSANDS of $$, and THOUSANDS of hours of time. Yea, go graduates! You guys deserve far more then the cheesy pen and devotional they hand you at the commencement ceremony. That’s a side note. Anyway, so I asked his wife, the host, what she’d like me to bring. She was throwing a ‘fondue’ party as the main course. Using MY fondue recipes. Gulp. Seeing my recipes and instructions put into action. Will they succeed or fail? I was a bit nervous. Success though, they were a HUGE hit!

I kept it simple, since dinner was fancy with 3 flavors of fondue, with just pure, no fancy schmancy junk, brownies. And the ice cream, that’s relatively simple. Chocolate ice cream with brownies. No flavored swirls, or chunks, or nuts.

Brownielicious. That’s how I describe this sundae.

The entire party was going nuts for the ice cream. The host described it as tasting like rich mousse. AMAZED it required no ice cream maker, and only a few ingredients. That means ALL of them could make it at home without any addition equipment.

I’ve become obsessed with these brownies. They are the quintessential brownie. Everyone needs a perfect cookie, cake and brownie recipe in their repertoire. And this is my brownie recipe. I’ve made them twice in the last week.

Brownies
Recipe from King Arthur Flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. (I used a sheet pan and it didn’t overflow, thankfully)

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked.

Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
*I let them cool for a few hours on the counter before cutting. If you cut them too soon, the knife will just get all gooey and the brownies won’t have nice clean edges. It’s be a gooey mess. Just a head’s up :)

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Confession: the chunks of brownies in here are from a ruined batch of box brownies. They we’re slightly crisp around the edges. I didn’t want to toss them, so I froze them and crumbled up the not crisp parts and used them in here. BUT, just use a couple brownies from your fresh batch for this.

Ingredients
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp coco powder
2 cups baked brownies, cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Pour the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 2 minutes, stir every 30 seconds until the chips are melted. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature (this takes about an hour)

In a stand mixer whip the cream and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks, about 7-10 minutes. Mix in cooled chocolate/milk and mix just until incorporated, about 1 minute). Fold in the cubed brownies.

Pour the ice cream into an 8 cup plastic storage container. Freeze for at least 6 hours, or until firm.

Sundae Assembly:
brownie (2 of them if you’re feeling generous :) )
ice cream
whip cream
chocolate sauce

At first I didn’t add the chocolate sauce. How sad the sundae looks. It NEEDED chocolate sauce, just the kind from a squirt bottle, you know, the kind you use to make chocolate milk, that’s the stuff!

Voila. Perfection on a plate.