May 26, 2010

how to get out of chores

We are trying to be organized about our upcoming move to the Bay Area. The move is two months away, and ... I am a little concerned. 1200 square feet of space houses a lot of memories, to be sure, but also a lot of stuff. The state of our closets is especially worrisome, as I don't ever remember organizing them, um, possibly ever, in the three years we have been living here. Eep.

 We spent most of Saturday cleaning and getting organized, which felt satisfying and productive, but left us tired/hungry (and, if I'm being honest, way cranky in my case). I started to feel a little better after a Shiner and a quick dinner of cold soba noodle salad but then -- my ambitious husband bounded up and suggested tackling the hall closet. Ugh. Desperate to avoid anything else resembling cleaning or organizing, I suggested I could, maybe, I don't know, make brownies ? You know, if he wanted to work.

 Magic words. Magic words, because Mark is a sucker for brownies. (This is the man who once ate an entire 8x8 pan of brownies in one sitting in order to prevent his brother from getting even one.)
 I'm fairly particular about brownies: chewy brownies are my thing, and fudgy or cakey brownies need not apply. My current favorite brownies are these cocoa brownies by Alice Medrich, which we first made when we went skiing in Colorado. Despite having to adapt them for high altitude baking, they turned out awesomely, with a deep and dark chocolate flavor and a major chew. Love. So, chewy brownie fans, I recommend those.

 Unfortunately, this particular Saturday night found me without cocoa powder. I did some googling for brownie recipes using unsweetened chocolate, which I did have, and found this article in Saveur claiming Katharine Hepburn's brownies were "incredibly chewy." Long story short: they are not chewy. Not even a little. Though the brownies have a nice, sugary topcoat and the batter --which you make on the stove -- is easy enough, these brownies are lacking that chewiness I find so alluring in brownies. Ms. Hepburn may have been able to wear the heck out of a pair of trousers but her brownies are not my ideal. I offer this recipe in case they are yours.


Katharine Hepburn's brownies

For chocolate, I used chopped Callebaut chocolate, which melts beautifully and has a deep chocolate flavor. I love this stuff, which I can buy at Central Market for around $5/lb. It may cost a tiny bit more than the ubiquitous yet mediocre Baker's chocolate at the grocery store, but I think it's worth it.

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp. fine salt

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper; grease the paper. Set the pan aside.
2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to make a smooth batter. Add the walnuts (if using), flour, and salt; stir until incorporated. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.


JDog said...

I love the mental image this statement gives: "This is the man who once ate an entire 8x8 pan of brownies in one sitting in order to prevent his brother from getting even one." I can just imagine him shoving bite after bite into his mouth as he strains to hear sounds of his brother approaching, hunched over the pan, brownie smeared on his hands and face. Ha!

Kim said...

Totally. That is exactly, but exactly, how I imagine it went down. Haha. Mark...