My oldest turned ten yesterday.
I officially have a "Tween".
We listen to a lot of Hannah Montana, Aly and AJ, Jonas Brothers, and (much to her father's dismay) her new discovery: Michael Jackson. She is my mini-me (but goofier) and I love to have her around.
She picked this for her birthday dessert. It is mouth-watering. Rich, fudgy, perfect with ice cream. And so simple to make. It's like a brownie, but crack through the top crust and you will find warm, gooey, molten chocolate.
adapted slightly from barefoot contessa back to basics
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (if you forget to get them out, put them in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I use Hershey's...Ina would probably frown on that)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (I get mine at Costco...the best deal I've found so far)
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (As I learned from Luke, a dessert is not a dessert without a scoop)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. (I used a rimmed cookie sheet.) Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish (I think it is easiest to put the brownie in the oven and then add the water to the cookie sheet with a teapot) and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with vanilla ice cream.
POST EDIT TIP: Don't throw out the vanilla pod after you scrape out the seeds. Toss it into an airtight container and top it with sugar (I added 5-6 cups). The next time you make a pound cake or the like, use the vanilla sugar. The sugar turns a little clumpy, but smells and tastes divine.