Confession: my life doesn’t seem too terribly hard, which is why I try to complain as little as possible to those dear ones who do actually listen. But, I’ve had a little bit of a rough go for…oh, about the last three months. There have been multiple times where I’ve wondered about declaring bankruptcy, quitting my job, and moving to the middle of the desert or the middle of the rain forest, maybe somewhere nice in the mountains. I’ve fantasized about pulling an “Under the Tuscan Sun” lately, and I’ve considered a little efficiency in Paris. I could get a job at a cafe anywhere in the world, if only I had the means to get me there. The truth is, it’s because I feel stuck, and a bit trapped. I’ve had this feeling before, just never for this duration. I need to pick up and go somewhere, and maybe while I’m somewhere else, I’ll realize that I’m doing okay. Consciously I know I’m doing okay, but the restlessness, the inability to sleep in my own bed because it’s just too damn familiar, the being able to predict when my neighbor and her asshole kids will get home upstairs every. single. night. on the dot…. it’s getting to me.
I feel fat, I feel lazy, I feel like….why bother? So, I’ve been making an effort. I try to do my hair a little differently, I put on some makeup, I think about wearing my favorite black shirt to work even if I wore it the day before (who notices under the aprons, anyways? They’re ALL black shirts under aprons!), I try a different flavor in my coffee at work. All to try and break things up. First world problems, right?
I have today and tomorrow off and I’ve promised myself I’ll do something spectacular, and now it’s snowing and sub-freezing temperatures. And sickness is running rampant at work, people are dropping left and right with the stomach flu, and I’m having hot and cold spells.
Sometimes, there are certain things a girl just has to break down and do in order to get herself right again. Sometimes those things are brownies, a pair of fat-pants, a cup of instant espresso (don’t you dare judge me), the Sims, and a new book.
So, new book is on the desk while I type (The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt – review coming if I ever manage to pick it up), I put my instant espresso in my disappearing Cheshire Cat (from Alice in Wonderland, one of my favorite novels of whimsy and escaping one’s own world), I turned on the Sims 4, and I headed into the kitchen to see what kind of trouble I could get into.
And so I give you ….
Almond-Flour Fudge Brownies (Gluten Free and if the batter is any indication, I’m about to die and go to heaven).
Now, I don’t have to go gluten free, it’s not an allergy. The recipe just looked fun, and easy, and every once in a while too much gluten plus dairy gives me a problem, and oh is there some dairy in this recipe – so it seemed like a good trade off, and I still had some almond flour to use up from my macarons. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, I have the makings for brownies just conveniently hiding in my cupboard, I threw them together and I was done. The whole process took less than ten minutes of prep time, and now I’m just waiting for them to bake in my jankie oven.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), plus a little extra for greasing the pan unless you have pam
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or whatever’s left over from the bag after going to town on them during binge-watching Netflix…someone please tell me that’s not just me)
- 1 cup almond flour (again, finest grind you can find works the best)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (oops, did I slip? Four? You see nothing).
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or just … salt…)
- 3 eggs (provided they aren’t dropped on the floor first…mom)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (unless you’re like me and then three).
And that’s it! Simple. All you need now is three bowls, one of them heat-proof, a 9×9 baking pan, and a small-ish sauce pan.
Step the first: Preheat yo shit. 350 degrees fahrenheit, unless your oven is as shitty as mine and then better do 365 to start.
Next, butter the ever-loving hell out of that 9×9 pan.
If you don’t have a 9×9 pan (which I don’t, incidentally), use whatever is good for a small batch of brownie batter. I’m using a rectangular class thing that was clean. Because it was clean.
Now the fun part. Put about an inch of water into that sauce pan I told you to grab, and put the heat-proof (preferably metal) bowl on top of it, but so it doesn’t touch the water. Look at it for a second. You now have a double-boiler. You know, those fancy ass things people tell you to get on Food Network so you can melt chocolate and make fancy gooey things that shouldn’t take direct hot water or can stick if just heated in a normal pan? You don’t need that shit in your life. You have a bowl and a sauce pot, you have a double-boiler. Make sure you turn the heat on, and throw the stick of butter and the chocolate chips in there together and let them get freaky.
While that’s happening (have a whisk handy, because once it gets going, it goes quickly), mix together your dry ingredients. That includes flour, salt, and baking powder, along with your cocoa powder. Give them a quick whisk to get them to cooperate, and set them aside, and you should have this:
Mix together your eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a seperate bowl. By that time your chocolate and butter should be pretty damn ready for a stir, so make sure you head over there and whisk until smooth and creamy, all velvety soft and smooth, and … I’m sorry, I had a moment there.
It should look like liquid heaven, like this:
Now the hard part. You have to let that cool for about five minutes, so take it off of the heat, take the bowl off of the pan, and let it sit somewhere safe where it won’t get knocked over for at least five minutes. Now go stir your eggs and sugar that you forgot about.
Alright, once that chocolate mixture is cool-ish, you can stir it in with the eggs, sugar, and vanilla, until you have a pretty homogenous mixture. Then, add in the dry ingredients, and whisk away until there are no lumps.
Once that’s all done, pour your stuff into your greased pan (you did grease it, right?), and bake for 25 minutes (Or 45 minutes if it’s my oven) or until set where you can stick in a toothpick (read: chopsticks are perfectly acceptable as long as they’re wooden) and it comes out clean.
Now here’s my disclaimer: If, and only IF, your week has been as shit as mine has…use left over birthday cake sprinkles to decorate the top. It’s magical, I promise, but…it’s a bit much. But that’s what I found in my pantry, and I thought hey, that’s sweet and edible…it’s going on top. Because I can. So there.
And there you have it. I had a small 1-inch by 2-inch sliver already, while it was piping hot, and I have to say … I did a damn good job. And I already feel just a tiny bit better. More brownies!
Listening to: Ha Ha Tonka, Jon Bellion, and other alt-rock mellow stuff.