Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ultimate Brownies and What to do, What to do

Ultimate Brownies - made December 18, 2015 from Handle the Heat
You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged in awhile. I was going at a fast clip over the holidays and was even almost caught up on posting the recipes I’d tried out leading up to Christmas. I even had about 7 restaurant reviews to write up and post before the new year. But I…..didn’t.

Part of that was because I ran out of time and once the new year hit, so did one of our busiest times at work. As in, I was heads down working, day after day, even through the weekends, with deadline upon deadline crashing down. Until about a week ago when all the deadlines and deliverables had been met. Then it was time to go back to my “normal job” which had piled up during this time of darkness. (Insert drama queen here.) I’m finally pulling myself out of the abyss to emerge into some normalcy.
But the other part of why I’ve been so blog-quiet is I was struggling with whether to keep on with the blog at all. It’s something I’ve been doing for almost 6 ½ years and although the last year and a half has been somewhat of a struggle to keep up with it as well as actually bake, I’ve managed. This time was different because it wasn’t just about the time but a confluence of other events: cutting back on sugar, trying to eat healthier, trying to lose weight, running out of new types of things to bake so I kept falling back on similar gamuts of cookies, cakes and brownies. And it was starting to get not-fun. I had always promised myself that if it wasn’t fun anymore, I wasn’t going to keep doing it. Life is short and all.
A big part of that is I really was cutting back on sugar. In fact, for the month of January, I gave up added sugar entirely (fruit is still okay). It was part of the annual “hey, let’s tackle those last 10 15 pounds again” goal. So if I was giving up sugar, I would feel like a complete hypocrite if I kept posting dessert recipes where sugar abounds.  Might as well ‘fess up what it really means is “here, YOU eat it but I’m not going to.” And that’s not who I am. Hence, the blog silence.

The other main reason I haven’t posted is I was really, really, really reluctant to cut the cord on my blog. Yeah, I know I don’t have the same verve for it that I did 6 ½ years ago or in the time since but did that mean I was ready to give it up completely? Maybe. Sort of. Not really. Okay, I just don’t know. And until I decided, I didn’t know what to post. Frankly I still don’t know. On the one hand, I haven’t baked for the entire month of January. I haven’t eaten sugar in January. I also lost 5 pounds in January. On the other hand, I feel like a piece of me is missing and not just the 5 lbs I lost. I haven’t done what I love and that’s to bake. Honestly, at this point, I don’t even miss the sugar or eating baked goods. But I do miss baking. I know. I’m weird that way.
So I still don’t know what I’ll be doing about my blog. I may post once in a blue moon or I may go through fits of baking and blog every day. Who knows? Until I decide, here’s the last thing I meant to put up in 2015. A month late but still worth making….if you’re eating sugar. And chocolate. It’s perhaps fitting that if this is my last blog post (I just don’t know!), that I “go out” on a brownie note. Because I love thick, fudgy-moist, chocolaty brownies. And that’s what this is. Enjoy.
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the top half of a double boiler set over hot, barely simmering water, melted chocolate chips, butter and unsweetened chocolate together, whisking until completely melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and salt, folding gently until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled.