Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yum, brownies for the heart (A recipe review?!)

at 4:54 AM
Hey out there, bloggendarmerie [blog readers; France, 19th century], here's what definitely won't be a new feature because it's boring to read and so far out of my realm of qualification that, well, never mind, I'm not qualified for anything I do or say here in even the slightest. But what does qualification really mean...?

[cue speculation, contemplation, meditation, soul-searching, brain-searching]

Huh, turns out I did all those self-journeys for nothing; "qualification" is right here in the dictionary.

My friends and robots know me as a bit of a cookery and bakery; I am as exploratory within the culinary arts as I am among games, music, and literabooks. These days, thanks to the Internet (thanks) and the Food Network, literally anyone can cook literally anything ever. The only barriers to entry are literacy, a few cheap kitchen supplies, and access to a grocery. If you can literate, you can cook.

That puts a fresh batch of brownies only a midnight craving and a browser's click away, and hit with such an imperative on this very night, with no particular recipe in mind, I landed on a thinly veiled Genesis reference, Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownies [AB[A]C[A]B (Abacab)]. In the past and future, I've found dear old Alton's recipes to be somewhat lacking in personality - a positive to my mind, leaving customization to ME, the cook - and all too often reliant on some ridiculous contrivance to bestow a dish with "perfection" (for Sweet Baby Ray's sake, just look at what he goes through to make a grill). But I did spend many of my would-be formative years as a would-be professional chef hinging on every word he said, and this here brownie recipe lacks his trademark gimmickry. So I said, "okay. Make a brownie."
........................k brownie monsters
If you didn't read the linked recipe, it's basically a handful each of sugar, eggs, cocoa, and butter, and a lil' bit o' flour. It calls for more eggs (four) and a bit more cocoa than your daily dessert deity might demand, but doesn't further deviate from the beaten path except to incorporate affirmative action in the sugar department: 1c sugar (white) and 1c sugar (brown).

The results were deceptively plain. Brownies are brownies, meaning they're a treaty bird no matter how well or poorly composed, and this particular batch is certainly a chocolate delight just waiting to bring the children back home. What's lacking is anything to stop immediate dissolution into the collective memory of "brownie". They're just normal, probably better than the ones in the Betty Crocker box, but not noticeably so. The texture, possibly thanks to the four eggs, is a weird middle ground between the ever-polarizing "cakey" and "chewy". They're dense as a doornail and moist as a middle fingernail, yet crumble and refuse to stay in carefully measured aesthetically pleasing golden rectangles.

One can't review a recipe without giving lip service to the lurking omnipresent paradox: does the recipe suck, or is it just the cook? I neither desire nor intend to answer this question, because honestly I feel like I'm never going to write another one of these. Oh while I'm at it, I guess...

I give Alton Brown's Phoned-in Cocoa Brownies a: This is a recipe I could spout out off the top of my head out of 10


  1. Doesn't matter this post still made me want some.

    1. Well I still have most of a tray left that I'd willingly trade for half a six-pack.

    2. Hey buddy some of those are mine. I called them before they were even created.