Chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate bars and squares – the darker the better, chocolate cake [traditional, layered, molten and flourless], Nutella, hot cocoa, ganache, chocolate croissants, truffles, chocolate-dipped macaroons and strawberries, pots de creme… I love them all. Except brownies. They just don’t do it for me. Maybe it’s a texture thing.
A while back my mom [an admitted chocoholic, doing more than her fair share to support Hershey and Nestle each week] had me scour the Internet for the ultimate from-scratch cocoa brownie recipe – finally sick of the box mix variety. The recipe I decided on from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet cookbook, found here. It has a cult following. Perfect.
Yesterday was to be my day of enlightenment, when I was to be lured in with rich, dark cocoa brownies. My mom was positive I’d crack.
We used Dutch process* cocoa powder from The Spice House**. The batter was satiny smooth, deep and dark; the kitchen alive with the smell of butter and chocolate. Being unfamiliar with proper brownie consistency, taste and crumb, I deferred to my mom for the final analysis. She claimed that, aside from being ridiculously easy to prepare [and sample several times], that this recipe did in fact produce a brownie infinitely superior to box mix brownies. She practically melted into the floor with her first bite. Then she remembered her mission: convert the crazy girl who doesn’t like brownies.
A small piece was cut and delivered on a white napkin for my assessment. I bit in and chewed, savoring the entire mouthful. It was moist and dense, a fudgy interior so dark it’s almost black – everything it seemed like a proper brownie should be. Wide-eyed and hopeful for my response, I agreed they were good and much better than anything I remember eating from a mix, but I still would never choose a brownie off a menu or make them for myself. She looked almost sad. “You are no daughter of mine.” A little harsh if you ask me… of course she’s only kidding [I think].
Really I just think it’s a texture thing. Anyone agree? Or am I as my mom said: “The only person who does not like brownies. A perfectly good chocolate-lover wasted.” I don’t know what my deal is. Maybe I missed the brownie gene. And in that case, it’s actually my mom’s fault I don’t like them!!
*Dutch-process cocoa powder yields a mellower flavor, more reminiscent of old-fashioned chocolate pudding; as well as a darker brownie.
**Sorry Penzey’s. You’re still our favorite.