And a good evening to you, my dearest insomniacs.
This night finds your weary blogger once again on opposing ends of powerfully conflicting emotions. Reasons to rejoice abound in the Insomnibaker’s life. For one- my job search has finally come to an end, and it’s one doozy of a gig. I shan’t be mentioning what it is until I’ve well and truly settled in, but let’s just say that I’m Insanely Happy to No Longer Be Unemployed. And as I mentioned before, there are two adorable furballs wreaking fuzzy havoc across my living room.
Though, as always, there are some things that weigh heavily on the Insomnibaker’s heart. I was hit earlier today with a wave of grief over the death of The Ex. Thinking, he would have been so excited to hear about this chapter of my life. He was always incredibly supportive of my professional life. The past few weeks, the constant sting of his absence has subsided a bit. The fact that I’m still living day by day while he is not brings on a new ache. More subtle than before, but an ache nonetheless.
Today, also, I remember the death of my friend and mentor Curt Dempster. For those not acquainted with the man and his work, Michael Feingold at the Village Voice pretty much nails it with this moving article. Though a bizarre series of happenstances, I had the opportunity to produce the Marathon at EST while still technically an intern. Dempster was a hard guy to work for. Over time, I came to realize that he gave the brunt of his constant, unyielding criticism to those he most wanted to succeed, and grow. But it usually stung to hear. He was often curt. And always, irrepressibly, Curt.
So here I am, still processing the last few dregs of my unemployment, looking back on these two men who changed and shaped the course of my life. I can’t call them up to tell them about my new job, or my new cats, or just that I’m alone in my apartment, or that I miss them.
BUT, what can a lonely Insomnibaker do but bake brownies, blog, and by golly live an amazing life.
- Today’s recipe is fairly convoluted, and will be difficult to replicate as it involves the use of many scraps of ingredients I have around the kitchen. The basis for the recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen’s Classic Brownies.
- I pre-het the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a small bowl, I whisked together 1 and 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder, and many healthy grinds of the sea salt mill.
- In a larger bowl, I mixed 2.5 ounces of Taza stone-ground chocolate (in other words, most of a bar after I had eaten a few pieces), 3/4 cup Double Dutch Cocoa Powder by King Arthur Flour, and 12 tablespoons Plugra butter.
- These brownies will be better, because they are branded.
- Though I should say, that Taza chocolate is somethin’ else. It’s $8 F*&KING DOLLARS A BAR, but it is gawdamned delicious, I tell you whut. Under no circumstances would I generally encourage buying bars of $8 chocolate, but really, you should try this.
- Also? Downton Abbey. Just started Season 1 on Netflix. Amazeballs.
- So I took the cocoa/chocolate/butter bowl, and zapped it in the microwave until the butter had melted, and it resembled a pool of black tar.
- Into the tar, I mixed in 1 and 3/4 cups agave syrup.
- Here’s my mini-rant about agave syrup. It’s a delicious sweetener which is perfectly fine for use in a variety of desserts. But don’t believe the hype. It’s not health food and never will be. It’s a highly processed sugar product with a higher calorie count than table sugar, and current marketing campaigns to hawk it as a “healthier” alternative to corn syrup or table sugar is total bunk. In my opinion. I’m not a nutritionist, nor a doctor. I believe this to be true based on my own research, so take it as you will.
- Except I’m totally right.
- On the other hand, it’s delicious! And I had to use it up. So if you want to use it in your baking, then fabulous. I just wouldn’t suggest this as a “sugar-free” alternative. Just use what works best in the recipe.
- I whisked in 4 eggs, one at a time, then added a dollop of vanilla bean paste (provided courtesy of my loving older sister).
- As something of an afterthought, I added 1/4 cup of my homemade hot chocolate mix to the flour mixture. Why the hell not.
- I added the now-chocolatey dry ingredients to the already-chocolatey wet ingredients and folded them in with a wooden spoon.
- I spooned the mixture into a silicone brownie-bites mold, and a mini-muffin tin.
- Hot damn Maggie Smith is one baddass dowager. Hot damn Downton Abbey.
- I popped those suckers in the oven for 30ish minutes.
VERDICT: The final result of this experiment was a delicious and fairly complex cocoa taste, but a rather disappointing texture. In the absence of regular sugar, these brownies puffed up like hostess cupcakes, and had a similar texture. However, since the goal was to use up the rest of my agave syrup, and stave off night-time grief for a few hours, I say mission accomplished. Good night, dear ones. It’s a good life, and I’m glad to be living it. Now off to bed with Downton Abbey on Netflix, and the kitty-twins Sherlock and Mycroft making merry hell around the apartment. Solider on, my sleepy friends, soldier on.