Christmas is five days away! How did this happen? Where did the last three weeks go? As you read this, I am either on a plane or in Texas…unless you’re reading this before 4:15am, in which case, I am frantically running around my apartment, probably making more noise than is appropriate.
Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Are you one of those people who has all the gifts under the tree by December 15th? I definitely am not. Nope. I am not quite a Christmas Eve shopper, but I definitely procrastinate.
Take this blog post, for instance. I had plans to do a post about baking with small children, but when I went to prepare everything, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. Enter my best friend, Emily. She is something I am not: logical. She texted to ask if my Cocoa Brownies were an appropriate teacher gift. They’re quick, easy, and super fudgy and delicious–perfect gift for teachers, coworkers, or anyone who makes your life simpler. But again, it’s five days before Christmas. There is no time to make ten batches of brownies.
So today, let’s take the work out of making brownies. Let’s keep the oven and stove off. Let’s not even break out a whisk. Nope. Let’s make brownie mix. Just layer all the dry ingredients that go into my Cocoa Brownies into a quart mason jar, top them off with chocolate chips (and pecans, if that’s your style), and screw on the lid. Tie on a ribbon and a little note with instructions for assembly, and voilà! Another gift done, and it only took five minutes! And it makes you look like Martha Stewart! Mason jars are magical like that.
makes 1 quart mason jar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or more chocolate chips)
In a quart-sized mason jar, layer ingredients in the order in which they are listed (i.e. Granulated sugar will be in the bottom of the jar). Tamp down each layer with a long-handled spoon. Screw on lid.
To make Cocoa Brownies:
1 jar Brownie Mix
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, cold, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8-inch square pan with butter. Set aside.
Pour brownie mix into a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Use a silicone spatula to stir in melted butter followed by beaten eggs and vanilla. Spread brownie batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slice and serve.