Sunday, June 29, 2008

Midnight sky

We tossed a blanket and laid on the cool green grass gazing up into the heavens where the brightest of stars winked at us. My friend Jager and I were enjoying another warm Texas night in the middle of little historic downtown Denton. In the background, the song of a nearby guitar softly sung to us and just the whisper of conversations could be heard, painting mellow sounds fitting for the serene night. Walking couples strolled into close coffee shops and bars that made the perfect square, as the old courthouse stood behind, stubbornly still with the lighted clock tower shining it's smile at the scene it misses in the dead of winter. Full trees hung over us, whithered with age but done up in white lights, glittering as the cool breeze passed over. I laughed at the thought of silly old women, dressed in their best, ready to dance but too astounded to find themselves in a college town to move. The wind took more liberty as I let it gently play with my hair as we talked about life, our future, who we are. It was one of those conversations, you know the kind where you feel like the world is a book and you're still in chapter 3, page 22 and all you want to do is skip to the last page to see if it's turns out good. I tend to have those conversations with Jager, my deep thinker friend. As our serious talk turns to content silence, pondering the echoes of the words we spoke, I try not to escape into tomorrow but grasp the now, appreciating what I have and been given.... especially the clear midnight sky.

Dark Midnight Brownies
I found this recipe from one of my absolute favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. If you've never seen it, seriously go check it out. Just like her site, the recipe didn't fail me and it turned out to be a rich fudge-like brownie. The only thing is they came out kind of thin. I love a tall decadent brownie so the next time I make these I might make them in a smaller pan to get that perfect ready to bite into look. Also I didn't actually have enough chocolate so I used some dark cocoa powder to substitute. If you want to, instead of 6 oz. chocolate use 4 oz. plus 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder. And if you can't tell I didn't put any nuts in mine.

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1¼ cups (5 ounces) cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2¼ cups (15¾ ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The perfect texture, and no nuts — this is going onto my list of recipes to try :)