Monday, October 01, 2007

Brownie Points

When I was little there was the brownie, and then there were all those other things that I wasn't quite sure what they were. Until I was nine or ten, those other things got my attention because they were devoid of nuts. Though I liked nuts, sometimes. Like in white chocolate macadamia cookies; I thought macadamia was the fancy name for white chocolate chunks. They were my favorite cookies. And I liked walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies too. Just like the brownies.

Then, the brownies started being in different varieties. There were the "original" ones - a fudgy brownie loaded with walnuts, raspberry brownies, and orange brownies. The orange ones then became my favorite, cool out of the freezer with their orange zestiness and smooth nutless texture. One brownie would last me a week.

Then, suddenly, the brownies stopped coming. I was shipped down to Arkansas with a box of brownies ("don't bring me any of those weird ones. I don't like them") for my grandmother's freezer, and never saw any again.

Every year when I go down to visit, Granma's friend asks me when I'm going to give her the recipe and Granma wants to know if they'll ever be made again. Dad told me the recipe once (I stopped listening when he got to 48 eggs), and the enormity of it overwhelmed and discouraged me. He told me it was straight from The Professional Chef. I looked through the book and never found it, and then, this past January, I found it. In the Professional Pastry Chef, that is. I e-mailed it to myself from his desk and then never did anything about it. Sixteen by twelve inches sounds a lot more intimidating than it really is.

So yesterday I decided I was finally going to tackle these little bad boys. And yes, they are bad. In the best possible way. I bought enough stuff to make a half-portion of the recipe, and then realizing I had no adequate pans, changed my mind and bought the rest of the ingredients I needed to make a whole recipe (which is actually 1/6 of the recipe my dad recited that had scaredme so much) and then didn't do anything about it. Until dinner time. We were all ravenous by the time we sat down to eat because I just had to get those brownies in the oven.

The sheer enormity of it all though meant dad had to do most of the heavy lifting. And stirring. And pouring. I'm glad we have an outrageously large metal mixing bowl, which we thought at first was too large. It was just right.

And the brownies. Well, they weren't quite as I remembered them, but they probably are. Partially because I was too impatient to let them cool (well, it is past my bedtime) and because some of the walnuts on top burned. Maybe for once nostalgia doesn't really make things taste better.

I can't wait until I see Granma's face on Christmas now.

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