I was in the mood to bake, and fast. So, I found just about the easiest recipe from a cookbook I hadn't-until-tonight opened, and got to baking. What caught my eye, besides the simplicity of the recipe, was its name. San Quentin Fudge Bars? What the heck is a name like that doing in the Ghirardelli Original Chocolate Cookbook? Even if the prison is located just north of San Francisco (Ghirardelli's hometown), for heaven's sake, these are fudge bars, not porridge. But I quickly came to and decided, well, even prisoners need chocolate. Plus, Johnny Cash gave a great performance there.
A couple of caveats on the recipe: While it says you can melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave or over the stove, be very very careful not to burn the chocolate. This is where a double boiler would come in handy, but if you'd rather not, go ahead and use direct heat from the stove, but take the mixture off the burner before the chocolate is fully melted, and just stir until it completely melts. I can tell you right now that otherwise, you WILL burn the chocolate. Also, as with all recipes that call for nuts, you should toast them before adding them in. I don't know why so many recipes just say add nuts; they are ten times better toasted first.
San Quentin Fudge Bars
Recipe in Ghirardelli Original Chocolate Cookbook
1 package (6 oz.) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (Marni says please toast these!!!)
In heavy saucepan or microwave oven, melt chocolate with shortening. Remove from heat. With wire whip, blend in brown sugar. Beat eggs lightly with vanilla and salt; stir into chocolate mixture in pan. Mix flour with baking powder. Add, all at once, beating until smooth. Spread into greased 9-inch square pan. Sprinkle nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool before cutting into bars. Makes 32 cookies.