Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If you think our government is divided...

I went back and forth with myself for days about whether or not to bother writing about this topic, because it is so divisive. It seems that the last thing any of us want or need right now - given the state of the economy and political wrangling - is more bickering and side-taking. And while I'm no professional journalist, I do still feel a pull of professional ethics to report on the latest developments in my kitchen, regardless of my personal bias.

What recipes could be causing me such a moral dilemma? I worry now to even state the topic, but I am duty-bound as a blogger to continue now that I have clicked "new post." I am writing of course, about brownies. Ne'er else since welfare and immigration has such a debate ensued than that over "chewy verses cakey" "fudgy verses chocolaty" "with nuts verses without." Things can get very ugly. Especially if opposing sides in the debate happen to comprise one side of a family unit.

I've tried many brownie recipes over the years, and I have to say "I'm still looking." I tried a recipe back in May and sometimes I go on a recipe-testing binge right after a disappointing experience so that I can immediately find a replacement. But with brownies, the task is so daunting and overwhelming that it felt completely unapproachable. So, when I saw one of the blogs I follow post her "top 10 brownie recipes" I was encouraged. I made the obvious choice of testing #1 on the list, which hails from the reknowned Baked bakery in Brooklyn and was sure I'd have a slam dunk.

Check out another blogger's photo that looks a lot more like how mine turned out than the photo from the site where I originally found the recipe.

I can't be too critical of these, because I took them to a large party and at least 6 people told me how much they enjoyed them. But they're still not my perfect go-to brownie. I want something that is chocolatey without being bitter, fudgey without being undercooked, and rich. It's not supposed to be chocolate cake, so it shouldn't require frosting in order to taste good. Will told me "these would be great with frosting!" which to me defeats the purpose. These had a bit of bitterness and a bit of cakiness. They were dense, and while they weren't dry, they seemed like perhaps they were a bit overdone, because they didn't have the "quintessential crackly top" about which the original blogger raved. It's also possible that I need to use a chocolate in the batter that I prefer the flavor of. Whatever the reason for the disappointment, I'm going to keep looking. And take this as a call out to you, fellow bakers, to send me your prized brownie recipe if you have one that you think aligns with my tastes. (I admit, I've been pretty impressed with the Ghiradelli "double chocolate" brownie mix in the past...)
Post your favorites in the comments here.

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