Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brownie Bakeoff

Last month Deb King sent me a glorious Christmas present full of the most tantalizing delicacies from her internationally renowned King Bakery in Meridian, Mississippi. Her brownies were so delicious even my DH (who is locally famous for his) has been experimenting with his recipe to see if he could match Deb’s. This resulted in yesterday’s brownie bake off at our house.

The people’s choice yummiest brownie award went to Deviant Scrap’s Clementine. Her award winning brownies were from a batch that she was going to throw out because she left them in the oven too long. We begged her to bring the bad ones along with her new batch of good ones - and the bad ones won. Besides being the choclatiest they were also the chewiest. (My favorites are usually the chewy corner brownies.) And, like Deb’s brownies, these had a thin dark chocolate frosting. We sampled all the brownies with espresso to “cleanse our palettes” between bites. Closing our eyes, we inhaled the chocolate bouquets, delicately munched bits of each (giving extra points for tactile mouth friendliness) and then (after discreetly sampling each) scarfed them down like The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Deb’s brownies are still widely considered the world’s best but my DH’s last batch is still killer and he is willing to share his new improved recipe here:

Tim’s Totally Acceptable and Reliably Delicious Brownies

7 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 sticks butter
1.25 cups unbleached flour
.5 tsp salt
.75 tsp baking powder
.5 cup raisins
2.25 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans

Get the oven going at 325 Fahrenheit.
Fold foil around the inside of a 13 x19 inch baking pan.
If you want nuts roast them in the stove while its warming up for about 10 minutes and set aside.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
Chop the chocolate into little bits, throw into a bowl with the chopped-up butter and cook in the micro until it is creamy (about 1 minute).
Stir eggs and vanilla into chocolate/butter.
Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mix.
Add raisins (unless you hate them).
Pour into the pan.
Sprinkle nuts on top wacking them lightly into the batter with a spatula.
Place in oven for about 35 - 40 minutes (until a toothpick comes out with just a couple tiny crumbs).
Let cool for at least 2 hours (whatever....)
Pulling them out by the tin foil keeps them from sticking to the sides of the pan.
Bon Apetit!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The storm is over



A big beautiful snow storm hit us earlier this week. Three feet of heavy snow came cannon balling out of the sky squashing our peach trees and pulling down power lines all around us.

We have wood heat so we stayed toasty warm but after the third night of candlelight dinners I was missing electricity. Many hours were luxuriously spent reading in front of the wood stove. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is a rip roaring fantasy novel that I am loving, loving, loving. It’s kind of an Oceans Eleven caper set in a kind of Renaissance Venice but on a beautifully dangerous planet with a charming gang of bad boys. At this point in the story they are sooooooo deep in trouble and obviously doomed I can’t believe they will survive - but they must, since there is a sequel already. And a movie. By Warner Brothers. Yes! If you like fantasy and don’t mind some violence and occasional cussing I highly recommend it.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you are wintering well. The kit I am working on now is tentatively called Faeries of Frost Forest. It is being heavily influenced by the weather in my back yard. Hugs, Lorie