Monday, September 27, 2010

Brownies in the Land of St. Honore'

This post is for my Mom who enjoys our travels in the Land of St. Honore'. As usual, it is pure fiction with no relationship to anyone I know.

It’s late summer in the Land of St. Honore’. The leaves are just beginning to put on their fall colors. In the garden the tomatoes echo those colors and are dazzling in bright hues of orange, red, green, gold and russet.

It is still dark when Giselle and her swain leave home, taking with them a lovely picnic basket and warm sweaters. Once they arrive at their destination the sunrise illuminates the gently filling bag of the hot air balloon. Heat from the burners warms the air and the warming air causes the balloon to rise until it’s like a colorful teardrop, with basket and burner below. They climb aboard and the pilot takes the balloon up into the early morning stillness…broken now and then by the wooooosh of the burners.

As they drift with the wind they are able to see the vineyards spread below them in many shades of green and just touches of fall color. What a perfect way to celebrate their anniversary!

After they have risen and then moved off in a different direction the pilot sees a place to land in a lovely field. He lets the air cool and the balloon slowly descends and then lands with a small bump. Leaving the pilot to attend to the balloon, hand in hand they walk over to a live oak tree in a wide field, lay out their picnic blanket and enjoy the fruit, bread and cheese they have brought from home.

Then Giselle brings out her surprise…freshly baked deep chocolate brownies with walnuts. Some have been given a small rosette of coffee buttercream, just for fun. The brownies are moist and decadent and irresistible. Before they know it the brownies have all been consumed with delight. Giselle gives her husband’s lips a final pat with the napkin, followed by a kiss, and they head back to the waiting balloon for the rest of their ride on their special day.

What Giselle didn’t tell her hubby is that the brownies came out of a jar…sort of. The dry ingredients had been layered in a large jar and all she needed to do was to melt and cool some butter and then beat some eggs, then stir the butter, eggs and contents of the jar together, spread in a pan and bake them. SO easy and very luscious.

You, too, can layer the dry ingredients in a jar, ready for an impulsive brownie baking session or as a gift for someone who loves brownies. These are far better than any from a boxed mix but just as easy on the cook. There are lots of variations at the end of the recipe so that you can personalize them.

Other than the ingredients, the only thing needed is care in placing the ingredients in their layers in the jar. I made a sort of funnel with some waxed paper to keep excess from hitting the sides. A real funnel would probably work even better.

Brownies in a Jar
Makes 1 quart of brownie mix for one 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies

One 1-quart canning jar or 1-quart decorative jar, plus a lid
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups sugar
(NOTE: To be decorative, add ¾ cup sugar, then ¼ cup decorative colored sugar, add another ½ cup plain, ¼ cup decorative and ¼ cup plain or just put in a full cup plain. With all plain it is a large band of white. Alternately, put in ½ sugar then chocolate chips or substitute for chips, then rest of sugar.
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Put the baking powder and salt in the jar. Carefully spoon the flour into the jar; gently tamp the flour down and wipe the insides of the jar with a dry paper towel to clean off any dust.

Carefully spoon in the cocoa powder, gently tamping it down and wiping down the inside of the jar with a clean paper towel.

Spoon the sugar into the jar, then add the chocolate chips. Seal the jar with a canning lid and ring or decorative lid.

To vary this recipe
Substitute 2/3 cup of any of the following for the chocolate chips:
Butterscotch chips, chopped toasted hazelnuts, chopped walnuts, cocoa nibs, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, M&Ms milk chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, pine nuts, raisins, Reese’s Pieces, white chocolate chips. (NOTE: I used 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts in my jar. It worked perfectly!)

Brownie Mix Recipe Card - Include a card printed with this recipe with the layered jar of Brownies in a Jar:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Empty the brownie mix into a large bowl. Add ¾ cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled, and 4 large eggs, well beaten. Mix well and spread into the pan with a wooden spoon.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.


  1. Oh Auntie Elle,

    Always wonderful to hear the tales of St. Honore. I'm glad you returned. Missing you dearly and hoping to find sometime in my crazy life to bake and think of you!


  2. Mandy my sweet, hope that you do indeed find time to bake soon and to visit, too. You are probably my favorite person to bake with, especially St. Honore' land treats. Miss you!
    XO Elle

  3. I live in a fantasy world were someone brings me a batch of these to enjoy with my morning tea....dreaming of that rich chocolate and crunch of walnuts.

  4. Whenever I hear of St. Honore. I think of the Gateaux St Honore, which I love to make every so often, but never ooey, gooey brownies. Those look phenomenal, and the write up is so beautiful..I can feel every word as if I'm there :)

  5. Great blog!! I am your newest follower!

  6. You have become my hero. :)