Career Move [Brownies]

Sunday, June 24 was m hay’s last day at a job he held for five years.

I know he will miss the friends and colleagues who made his time there special.

I remember when m hay first took his old job. It wasn’t long after he got back to Ottawa after working in Chicago for several months.

M hay actually lived in a house I shared with four roommates when he first got back. He slept in a spare, blue bedroom with walls covered in nail holes that no one else wanted. It was right next to my room.

We weren’t really friends then.

It’s funny how we had no idea what the future held.

M hay’s new restaurant is a smidge closer to our place, closes earlier and is fully closed on Sundays. Yes and yes and yes!

M hay loves chocolate. I don’t, really. But these brownies are for him.

They’re incredibly rich with a wavy crust on top.

Some recipes say to whip brownie batter hard and to leave it covered in a pan in the fridge for  24 hours to maximize top crust. In such recipes, the top crust is created in two ways. First, the sugar in the batter migrates to the top. Second, the hard mixing makes the eggs take on a meringue-like texture.

This recipe doesn’t involve hard mixing or a 24-hour waiting period. All you do is sprinkle sugar on top. The result is a very rich and smooth brownie with a crust comparable to that resulting from the above-mentioned method.

*Recipe from Mission Street Food by Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. 

10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (in the 70% range)
14 oz butter
3 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups sugar
extra sugar and cocoa for dusting
2/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, or in a microwave on the low setting.

Whisk the eggs with the creme fraiche (or sour cream), sugar and vanilla. Add the butter and chocolate to the mix.

Sift and mix the cocoa, flour and salt in a separate bowl. Form a well in the centre. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Gradually incorporate all of the dry ingredients, mixing as little as possible.

Butter a 9 x 12-inch baking pan and dust it with cocoa. Shake out the excess cocoa. Fill the cocoa-dusted pan with the batter. Sprinkle the entire surface evenly with several big pinches of granulated sugar.

Bake for 24-30 minutes at 350F. Check for doneness every few minutes thereafter. Insides should be a bit fudge, so a toothpick inserted into the centre of the baking brownies should come out a bit dirty. but not with any liquid batter on it.

Allow the brownies to cool completely. Their best sliced the next day.

Brownies keep best individually wrapped.

Recipes often cite the need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. But ingredients tend to stick to the bottom of a mixing bowl, too. Be mindful of the bottom of the bowl.


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