While the rest of South Africa is out doing something important today, I though I should do something important to. So I made brownies. Again. Yawn.
I know, I have said it time and again that I will stop this madness. But wait! This time I cracked it. Let me be clear: I have not found the perfect brownie, but I finally understand the brownie. And like all things in which one aspires to expertise, it has taken a lot of hard work. I have now read about, thought about, looked at, and actually baked, so many brownies that finding yet another page like this one no longer fills me with fear, trepidation, nightmares (!!), or the need to draw up shopping lists consisting of only eggs, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, butter and flour. Yes, there is a brownie called “Better Than Brad Pitt“, and I do not need it in my life.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that you cannot trust pictures or words on the interwebs. (And, as Julia Moskin recently pointed out in The New York Times, you should not trust recipe search engines either). Take-home lesson: be distrustful.
Just look at this recipe, for example, for “Bakery Style Chewy Brownies“, which comes with this picture:
Well that looks like a pretty damn fine brownie, and the word “chewy” hits all the right tingly bits in my brain. But if you look at the original recipe, the description reads “Thick and almost fudge-like in consistency“… So what is it – chewy or fudgy? In the brownie world, those words are basically antonyms. Said recipe also tells us that “The key to this brownies [sic] yummy chewy top is beating the eggs and sugar together for several minutes until they become very light and fall off the beater in a ribbon, so definitely don’t skip that step.” Well, just the other day I made the famous Supernatural Brownies, and they got exactly the same top without beating the eggs for an age. (The supernaturals are supposed to be the “perfect chewy brownie“, by the way. They are not. They are damn tasty, but chewy they ain’t.) So if anyone tells you that you must beat eggs and sugar together for many minutes to get that special crackled brownie-top, just step away from the Kenwood and remember, that’s bullshit.
So in the spirit of distrusting everything I read, I decided to finally try these famed browned butter brownies, which are described as (ugh) “fudgy on the inside”. Here they are, in all their sweet-baby-jesus chewy goodness, and packed with peanut-power too:
Anyone for coffee and brownies? (If you don’t like peanuts, you can have Kahlua-toffee, or fudgy-peppermint…).
Oh, and one more lesson learned: brownies make an excellent
breadbrownie-and-butter pudding. Soak chunks in custard, sprinkle tops with sugar, bake. Try not to burn. Eat with Tahini ice cream. Or, you know, whatever other whacky concoction lurks in your freezer. (PS. You can of course trust me on this.)