Friday, October 07, 2022

Brownie Pizza, and an 11th Birthday Celebration

Our daughter turned 11 years a few weeks ago, and celebrated with an 18 hour party. It started at 6 PM on Friday evening and ended at noon on Saturday. There were 4 guests, all 10/11 year old girls, and the 5 kids took over our basement for the duration and played music, games, danced, watched movies, painted nails and chattered away. (Little brother and big doggy were not invited downstairs and were entertained upstairs).

An 18 hour party needs lots of fuel and this is what I served, as per the birthday girl's exact specifications-

Hour 0- Dinner- Mac and cheese, vegan chik'n wings, veggie crudités (carrots, peppers, broccoli) with hummus and ranch dressing, with mini cans of sprite

Hour 1- Dessert- Brownie cake with Neapolitan ice cream, candles and singing of the birthday song in three languages

Hour 5- Midnight snack- Popcorn, pocky (biscuit sticks) and apple slices

Hour 13- Breakfast- Toast with jam and butter, fruit, milk

Hour 16- Brunch- Hash brown casserole, sheet pan pancake with sprinkles and choc chips drizzled with caramel syrup (recipe coming up in the next post), berries, orange juice

* * *

Brownie "Pizza"

My go-to recipe for brownies is called "Best cocoa brownies" by none other than Alice Medrich. Her recipes are often sheer genius and this one certainly ranks high for me, being tasty AND low maintenance. I've mentioned it 12 years ago in this post and it has stayed my favorite brownie recipe all this time. So here it is in my words.

Cocoa Brownies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a glass bowl and microwave in short spurts until melted but not hot. It might look gritty- that's ok.
  • Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
  • When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool and refrigerate to be able to cut with clean lines. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
Our birthday girl prefers ice cream to cake, so we decided to buy a tub of Neapolitan ice cream (three flavors in one- chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) and make brownies instead of cake. And for birthday fun, we decided to bake the brownie in a circular pan and decorate it as a pizza. 

So the batter went into a 9-inch cake pan, and once cooked and turned out, I spread some raspberry jam as tomato sauce, blueberries and slices of strawberries as toppings, and grated white chocolate as cheese. That was our quick and easy brownie pizza, ready to be sliced into wedges. 

Dunkie the hound dog

My friend T brought over flowers from her yard
with parsley and mint as the greenery!

Flower from my neighbor S's yard


  1. Eleven! Not possible!!

    1. Don't I know it! :D 11 going on 17, I forgot to mention!

  2. How time flies! Birthday wishes to your little (yes, she'll always be little) girl. What a wonderful celebration. So nice to see Duncan too, he's looking good!

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kamini! Time does fly. The days are long but the years are short. Duncan...poor guy has surgery this week to get mast cell tumors removed. We're hoping all goes well.

  3. Happy birthday to L! And thank you for the recipe - perfect timing since my co-workers are requesting chocolate treats for staff meeting this week :)

    1. Thanks, Bek! Your coworkers are just a little bit spoiled maybe, I think ;)

  4. Happy Birthday!! Love the party idea and your menu is spot on perfect, as usual.

  5. This looks like a fun birthday party - and I love the sound of all the food. We have been looking out for hash browns in the freezer section at the supermarket for weeks and just found that there is a potato shortage. And I love the sound of your brownies - Alice Medrich is someone I would go to for a classic chocolate recipe.

    1. Johanna- we had a similar shortage, not so much of potatoes, but of frozen potato products a few months ago. Yes, Alice Medrich has amazing recipes and is the queen of chocolate.


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