Fudgy Football Brownies

by Zehorit HeilicherTastemaker in Residence - for the rest of the story... check out Confessions of a (relative) football newbie

1 c. butter
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. instant coffee granules          
Creamy Vanilla Frosting or 1 cup canned vanilla frosting (see recipe below)

Yield: 9 or 10 football brownies or 48 brownie rectangles
Prep 30 mins
Bake 350°F 18 mins

The day before:
In a medium saucepan combine butter and unsweetened chocolate. Cook and stir over low heat until melted; cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set pan aside.

Stir sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined. Stir in vanilla. In a small bowl stir together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.

Bake for 18 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift brownies out of pan. Using a 3- to 4-inch football-shape or other cookie cutter cut out brownies. (Or cut brownies into rectangles.)

Spoon Creamy Vanilla Frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe frosting onto brownies to decorate. Let stand until frosting is set.

In a storage container, layer brownies between sheets of waxed paper. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature overnight. *

Tailgate day:
Tote brownies in container at room temperature.

Serving suggestion:
To use up the brownie scraps, coarsely crumble scraps. Layer about one-third of the scraps in a 1-quart canning jar. Pipe additional frosting over brownie layer. Repeat layering two more times. If desired, top the last layer of frosting with chocolate-flavored sprinkles. Seal jar and let stand at room temperature overnight. * Tailgate day: Tote in jar at room temperature. Use a spoon to scoop out servings.

For longer storage, store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk

In a large bowl combine shortening and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat in 2 teaspoons milk. Gradually beat in 3/4-cup additional powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a frosting of piping consistency.

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens by Zehorit Heilicher