When your kid has impromptu gum surgery on the kitchen counter, and that kid is Sammy and the next day is the first day of school, chances are she is going to school, surgery-be-damned. And chances are you are going to leave a lot of instructions with both her teacher and the nurse for all of the things that could go wrong. But if you are this mom, you will also forget to pull her from gym and recess. This will lead in turn to your surgeon dad bragging about his awesome stitches since after running laps in gym, swinging on the monkey bars and crawling all over the spider, the incision did not start bleeding. And when I asked Sammy if it hurt (at the incision, not all the activity), she said no. I said not even a little? She conceded it hurt a little.
Dad says if she were an adult she would be belly aching about it for weeks. But that’s kids for you. They have more important things to do.
And this kid in particular is over the moon about school. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I always start trying to figure out ways to make my treats more child friendly. For me this means both more interesting looking (like the M&Ms) and a little more healthy (whole grains, nuts, natural sweeteners, etc). Which is kind of silly in some ways because in the case of these beauties, it is not like they became after school treats or were even sent into school. It is purely instinctual, something I do without thinking about it.
I am happy to state that these beauties do not taste like the healthier option at all. They are wonderfully chewy and chocolate-y without being the kind of intense chocolate that you can only eat a few bites of. I started with a recipe in Lisa Slater’s Brownie Lover’s Bible, but the recipe turned out to be more inspiration and less actual recipe. For one thing, the recipe was for more what I would consider a blondie; for another thing, she suggests various ways to change it (adding cocoa, adding melted chocolate, etc) but says nothing of how much to add and what to remove if you do add. So I felt like my final result was pretty much its own creation.
- 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups chocolate chips, divided
- ¼ cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 T vanilla extract
- 2 scant cups quick cooking oats
- 2 scant cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 3 cups (360 g) white whole wheat flour
- 2 t fine sea salt
- 2 t baking soda
- 1¼ cups baking M&Ms, divided
- vanilla salt for sprinkling
- This is a huge recipe. So we are going to bake the brownies in a rimmed cookie sheet (18X13 inches). Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- Combine the butter with ½ cup of the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Melt, in 30 second intervals on 50% power until you can whisk it smooth.
- Whisk in the sugars and cocoa powder.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. Beat in the vanilla. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour mixture and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for about 40 strokes. Stir in the oats, both kinds, and then fold in the remaining chocolate chips and 1 cup of the M&Ms. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of M&Ms and then sprinkle with vanilla salt to taste.
- Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut the brownies into rounds (or slice into rectangles). Be sure to enjoy the scraps if you use the biscuit cutter!