Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen: Food Guys Love

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In so many ways The Newlywed Cookbook is utterly femme, but one of the best compliments I got about it came from a guy’s guy. You know the type—broad-shouldered and devilishly handsome with a healthy appreciation for steak and potatoes. He said to me, “Your book is so beautiful, but if you repackaged it with a leather cover and called it Food Guys Love, you’d sell it to men in droves.” I took this as a total compliment. That’s because though the team at Chronicle and I put so much thought into creating a book that looks and feels like it was created specifically for gals, I wrote it just as much with the guys they love in mind.

Still, I’m a sucker for the pretty things in life, like pedestal cake stands, pleated silk skirts, and cascading goddess gowns. So finding out my book was being sold on the shelves at BHLDN alongside all of the aforementioned lovely things was an utter thrill. And when the BHLDN gals called with an invitation to host The Newlywed Cookbook and me for a book signing in their stunning Chicago store, my heart skipped a beat.

BHLDN is the bohemme bride’s paradise, a new take on the old, much like the recipes and mood you’ll find in the book. It’s all about timeless pleasures, and authentic love. Finding myself in the center of a BHLDN fete with Hibiscus-Ginger Tea, Dill Deviled Quail Eggs and 1000-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipes from my book served with BHLDN’s signature grace and style, was a bit of a dream come true. There I was in a girl’s paradise, but when I saw how heavy the sole groom in the room was hitting the cookies, I thought of the words my grandmother so often said to us girls, “Learn to make his favorite things.” I had to smile. Big. Sure, it’s an old fashioned ideal, but some of the best ones are.

“My guy is nuts for your steak and cookies,” said one of the BHLDN brides-to-be to me when she came in to buy several more copies of the book, which she already owned, for friends. That’s exactly the kind of thing I love to hear. Are steak and cookies the secret to a happy marriage? I won’t go that far. But I will say there’s something to making the ones you love feel special, and occasionally, spoiled. That’s something the BHDLN team seems to understand pretty well.

I left the signing lighthearted, and the proud owner of my very own BHLDN penny, or half-apron {pictured}, worn by all the gals in the store, which I’ve taken to wearing almost daily in my kitchen. These days, I’m feeling flirty, almost like a blushing bride again, as inspired as ever to dig into the pages of Food Guys Love, otherwise known as The Newlywed Cookbook, and indulge the one I love.

My Girl’s Brownies

Makes 9 to 12 brownies

{make him proud} He’ll never get over his mom’s brownies, until he’s had yours. These will become a favorite of everyone who likes dark, fudgy brownies that stay soft from the center to the outer edges, even when fully baked {no more fighting over the middle pieces!}. These are the ultimate pantry brownie, drawing their richness from butter and cocoa powder instead of chopped chocolate, which means you can whip up a batch fresh and cheap whenever the craving hits.

10 tbsp/140 g unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup/200 g sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/2 cup/50 g cocoa powder
1/2 cup/60 g all-purpose/plain flour
1 generous pinch {about 1/8 tsp} of fine sea salt
1/2 cup/55 g toasted walnuts {optional}

Preheat the oven to 325˚F/165˚C/gas 3. Lightly butter an 8-in/20-cm-square baking pan/tin. Line the pan with parchment/baking paper: cut two strips 8 in/ 20 cm wide and long enough that they hang about 2 in/5 cm over each side of the pan to create flaps. Tuck the paper into the edges of the pan and butter the parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs and mix to combine. Add the cocoa, flour, and salt and stir to bring together, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Lightly stir in toasted walnuts, if you wish, with a spatula.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until the top cracks and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but not gooey, 30 to 35 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into 9 to 12 bars, and serve warm or cool completely.

P.S. These are the perfect brownie for a sundae, and soften into rich folds of vanilla ice cream like a dream.

Purchase: The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking with and for Each Other.

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