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Cocoa Brownies PDF Print E-mail
Food Frenzy
Written by Arlen Mabe   
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 13:40

Cocoa is a simple ingredient that leads to a complex flavor.

Wanderlust is a terrible affliction.

Once you have it, it holds on tight until satiated. I was able to cure it recently with a trip to Napa Valley/San Francisco (which was amazing) and Atlanta to see Joanna Newsom perform (which was equally amazing!). The latter trip was the most recent and quite the adventure. It was one of those trips that even though disaster strikes, and boy did it, you are still able to have an amazing time and laugh at your misfortune.

I offered to drive my car for the road trip to Atlanta. I had just gotten a used Jetta weeks before and figured it was in fine shape for a 4 hour drive.  Well it was until 2 hours into the trip when the engine light came on, then the battery light, then the ABS, then every other warning light on the dash… my car was dying while going 70 mph down the highway! We had to pull over and call AAA. And at this moment, I was thinking why have I been prone to so many car problems lately?? Have I not been depositing enough in the karma bank? And did I mention that we had T minus 5 hours to make it to the 8:30 show in Atlanta?

After talking to AAA, we learned that there was a tow truck driver named Bubba in the area and he could come to our aid in 30 minutes. Success! And indeed, Bubba, like a St. Bernard in the snowy tundra, came to our rescue on the side of Highway 300. The four of us piled into the cab, and slowly head to the closest town, Cordele, GA. At the repair shop, the mechanic informed me that he couldn’t fix my car until the following morning. This was not an option for us, we hada deadline! So Bubba dropped us off at a rental car company, I dropped Bubba an $80 towing fee, and we all dropped $80 on a rental to continue north to Atlanta.

your cocoa and sugar mixture will appear gritty and that's OK!

And with luck finally back on our side, we make it to the show with (barely) enough time to spare.

To be honest, seeing Joanna Newsom play at Variety Playhouse wasn’t the only thing I would have been devastated to miss. There is an amazing burrito place right next door to the venue called Elmyr’s (rhymes with beer) and I would be lying if I said that this hadn’t factored into my decision to purchase tickets. I like to get the BBQ chicken burrito with pinto beans, black beans, salsa, jack cheeses, and cilantro.  Everything on their menu is fresh, flavorful, and amazing. They also have vegan options.

From here on out, the trip got better and better. If eating awesome burritos and enjoying the Little 5 Points nightlife wasn’t enough, we discovered that another favorite band of ours, King Khan and the Shrines, was playing the next night…!! Well, naturally we had to stay. And it was so worth it. We even got a picture with The King after the show.

check out the dedazzled underwear

I came home from this trip needing a vacation from my vacation. But that’s the best kind of vacation my young soul can have.

Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s 

Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional, I opted for white chocolate chips)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. (Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave.)

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (Go further and throw them in the fridge or freezer for a while; that way they’ll cut with clean lines.)

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

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Mean Dean - 04-06-2010 17:00

:woohoo: That is the first time I've ever heard the Georgia landscape called "snowy tundra," where snow is normally as extinct as in the Florida panhandle. In the south, we all tend to love our "Bubba's," who mostly tend to look like St. Bernard's anyway. To put your "Jetta without jets" adventure in perspective, read Deborah Hamlin's great article concerning her Mississippi vehicle adventure. Wow, I've seen "dedazzled underwear" before, butt not on a guy. Ya know, most men in Louisiana are cooks, but your highly detailed instructions may be lost on these great beer guzzling guys with grilles. :whistle:
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 April 2010 13:43