Today I’m going a bit crazy. Perhaps it’s because the snow has once again confined me to my home, or perhaps it’s because I’m nearing the end of Season 1 of Damages and I’m channeling my inner Glenn Close. And my inner Glenn Close wants some brownies, dammit.
I’ve wanted to make this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for ages. If you don’t know about the chocolaty wonderland that awaits you at Smitten Kitchen, you should. She’s fantastic. She’s the Domestic Goddess I would aspire to become, despite the fact that I’ll always be slightly not-OCD-enough. Which is saying something, believe you me.
- The shenanigans of Patty Hewes have gotten me all revved up, so let’s cut the crap and get straight to the brownie making, shall we?
- I preheated the oven to 325 and lined a pan with parchment paper. Lining pans with parchment paper is almost as satisfying as letting butter soften. I don’t know how big the pan is. Smaller than a 9×13 but bigger than an 8×8. I looked for a measuring tape but THIS WAS DELAYING ME FROM BROWNIES.
- In a bowl, I put in 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 1/4 cups sugar. The Smitten Kitchen asks that we melt it together in a double-boiler, but I just stick it in the microwave, because don’tchoo know I’m loco?
- Holy crap, that smells good. I would be lying if said I didn’t go in for a taste. And I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fucking delicious.
- I omitted the salt in the recipe, because I have plans to add the salt later, on top, in all of its gorgeous, flaky goodness. I also left out the vanilla extract, and to learn why, you must be patient.
- I beat in 2 eggs (cold) and 1/2 a cup of flour. And here’s where it starts to get really crazy.
- I mixed in a 3 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding. I don’t know how it will turn out or affect the recipe. I am jumping without a parachute and I. Like. It.
- Giddy and giggly from breaking the rules, I stirred in about 1/2 cup each of dark chocolate chunks, peanut butter chips, and white chocolate bits. I was going as wild as our coke-snorting friend Arthur Frobisher over on Netflix.
- An aside about Ted Danson. The guy is both a perfect gentleman and a total silver fox. I worked as an extra on Bored to Death a couple years back, and he would just wander around holding, grabbing bottles of water and gabbing with the common folk– gasp, even the non-SAG ones. Call me crazy, but I find tall, famous men with commanding personalities totally attractive. Must be a very selective quirk of mine.
- Anyhow, once I’ve snapped out of my Danson-related daydreaming, I pressed the batter into the parchment-lined pan. It was as shiny and glossy as patent leather.
- I took my sea salt grinder to the expanse of brownie goodness before me, and the feeling was something akin to what Slim Pickens must have felt riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
- The brownies take about 20 minutes or so to bake, which of course isn’t enough time for a full episode of Damages but I’m on the final episode of Season 1. And golly gee, it’s a doozy!
- Can you imagine being Glenn Close’s agent? “Sorry Ms. Close, but you didn’t get the part this time.” And then she smiles one of her evil smiles of death as you shrink back into your seat and hope that your car doesn’t explode when you try to drive away.
- Once the brownies were done, I lifted the entire batch out on the parchment and let them cool on the counter (I don’t own a rack. I should, but I don’t).
- They needed some time to set. Smitten Kitchen recommends popping them in the fridge or freezer, which is a good idea. So that’s what I did.
- Again, I would be lying if I said that while they were cooling, I didn’t break off an edge and eat it right then and there. The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” began playing in my mouth.
- After they had cooled completely, I cut the little batter into gorgeous little squares. Some of the center was still rather gooey and just wouldn’t set properly. This may have meant that my pudding strategy wasn’t a complete success, but my mouth says otherwise. However, I put the batch back in the freezer until I had completed my Netflixing.
Verdict: I haven’t made the original recipe, so I can’t say for certain that my changes made a definitive improvement or not. But I can say that these are fudgy and dreamy, and the various flavors of chips and chunks add even more creamy wonder to the flavor. Not to mention the added bite of sea salt on top. The tops and edges have a hard, candy-like texture when completely cooled, which may have something to do with how the instant pudding interacts with this recipe.
Either way, they’re darn good, and I challenge anyone to say otherwise. Now, who’s going to come over and eat these bad boys? If you happen to see Ted Danson, please let him know that I have brownies.