I can see a white russian from my house: tales of a baked goods maverick

Chocolate cake has never been my favorite thing. Even when I was little, I was more of a vanilla cake girl (rainbow chip if I could get it). It’s a shock, really, when you take into account my dear love for all things sugar. I’m also (please don’t call the femininity police) more fond of vanilla than chocolate flavored things. But there is one chocolate dessert that gets my heart pounding a rhythm of love in my ears: the brownie. Oh, the brownie makes me weak in my knees. It’s like a little square of chocolate cake that has gotten rid of all the inherent chocolate cake weaknesses (lack of intensity, unpleasant drying mouthfeel from the tannins, under-sweetness) and become so much bigger, better, and delicious…er. The chocolate ubermensch, if you will (oh yes. I will.) Every birthday picture of Nietzsche throughout the years show him blowing out the candles on a platter of brownies, I’m sure of it.

I will scarf down boxed brownie mix without even bothering to bake it, but it’s not my very favorite way to eat a brownie. I actually prefer them to be homemade, prepared from Valrhona bittersweet chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and sea salt. Then I like to take them directly from the oven, cooled only slightly so as to prevent breakage, and then topped with an ice cold scoop of super-premium vanilla ice cream. The combination of hot chocolate and cold vanilla, often with a drizzle of salted caramel, is kind of what I picture when I close my eyes and think about heaven. That, and lots of golden gates and feathers. Not on the brownie, though.

This version is for transport to work. I’ve decided to subversively feed the other trainers baked/fried goods on a regular basis. Then when they see they can eat these treats each week without getting fat, they’ll stop telling all of our clients that they have to eat crap like grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli as an entire meal. Ha!

It’s Dori Greenspan’s brownie recipe, but sprinkled with white chocolate chips before baking, cooled, and then slathered with cream cheese frosting, decorated with roasted cashews, and drizzled with more bittersweet Valrhona. I’m excited to see who turns them down in the interest of being “fitness professionals” and who’s like “fuck it! Pass me a few!” Those “fuck it” folks will become my pals.

Plus, these are just absolutely gorgeous to behold (in my humbug opinion). I love the great crumb on the outskirts of the brownie, with the visible chocolate density in the middle. I’m getting fat looking at them. I already ate all of the trimmings while I was “squaring” them. They could have been asymmetric for all everyone else cared, but I cut them all perfectly anyway because I wanted to eat some trimmings. Mmmmmmmmmmm. See how the chocolate dribbles from the top? All this needs is some ice cream. We’re still eating the last batch of Cherry Garcia that Chris made, but after that’s done, it’s all systems go on a rich vanilla.

Brownie porn always causes me to hear “At Last” by Etta James. You hear it too? Good. Just listen to the music and look away, and when you turn around the brownie will be gone, and all you’ll see is a smiling me, holding up jazz hands with chocolate smears around my mouth.

7 thoughts on “I can see a white russian from my house: tales of a baked goods maverick”

  1. Mmmmm…chewy brownies (insert Homer Simpson drooling noise). I really need to stop reading your blog until after the wedding, cuz seriously. I'm dyin' here. You whore.

  2. I have the Hepburn (Katherine, not Audrey – arguably the cooler, pants-wearing-er of the Hepburn girls) family brownie recipe, and I can whip out a whole batch start to finish in 30 minutes flat.

    I bake mine in buttered and cocoa'd ramekins to halve the baking time, and add a dollop of marmalade to the center for extra squidge.

  3. Man, no sooner do you enter the fitness industrial complex than your blog is all sweets all the time. This isn't going to become one of those twee baking sites, is it? Because those are for girls.

    That said, I would totally murder one of those right now. Which is why I don't make sweets.

  4. Brownies are my favorite dessert of all time. Can we figure out a way to make brownie cake for the wedding instead? Except maybe that wouldn't be a good idea, because instead of talking to the guests I would be body slamming anyone who came close to the food in fear of them taking it away from me….
    Anyway, can you please join my campaign to convince Erik that Rainbow Chip cake is nothing like funfetti and is about a million times better? I get all up in arms every time he calls it funfetti

  5. I'm a vanilla girl too, through and through. But rainbow chips kind of intimidate me. I think I'd like them better if each one tasted different, even if it was a case of, "Oh, THIS ones tastes like…YELLOW!" At least there would be variety, right?

    I once baked brownies with jujubes scattered throughout. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Note: Not a good idea after all.

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