Twelve years ago, the Pazzo and I were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe via the USA. My sister was working in the US, so we decided (I decided actually) to visit on our way to Europe. The price of the airline ticket wasn’t much more, worth the difference to see Al.
While we were there we had dinner in a Diner, cos you know, when in Rome and all that! The Pazzo and I both had burgers (the Pazzo was astounded, he ordered a twin burger, thinking was 1 burger with 2 beef patties in it, but no, it was 2 full-sized burgers). I decided I had to try a brownie, something iconic in American. I wanted to know what the fuss was all about! It came out. It was disappointing, I mean it was like a stale piece of flat, dry cake, served with ice-cream. It needed ice cream to help wash it down, to give it some moisture. With this as my only example, I couldn’t work out the attraction to Brownies.
Fast forward a few years, and I was looking through my copy of Nigella Lawson’s book, Domestic Goddess, and saw her recipe for brownies and thought to myself, they look good. It was the first time I had actually acknowledged that the recipe existed, let alone read it. I decided to give brownies a second chance, maybe I can make a brownie that’s better than the one I tried. Lo and behold they weren’t just better, they were a knockout!
Fast forward a few more years and my brownies have been tweaked, just a little. The recipe is truly mine now. If I need to bring a dessert, people request them. I make them to take to the kids cricket games (even though I don’t ever put nuts in them, I still get asked, by the same mother, every time, if they have nuts in them, but that’s another story). I take them to functions when a plate is needed, or as a donation for any cake stall! I am known for them, and they are requested! Every time we go to my Mum’s place for dinner, even she requests them.
Although I didn’t ever think there was a trick to them, I was asked how I got them so gooey. So I explained that after I made the batter and baked them, I let them cool and then they had to be refrigerated overnight generally, so they didn’t just turn into a brownie mash when they are cut up. So there is a trick, a process, not mentioned in any brownie recipe I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a few now!! I mess with the flavours as well. Mixing through raspberries or peanut butter, and a cheesecake brownie is to die for!!
I’ve never had an authentic American brownie, but have made peace with my one experience with brownies in the US. I just got a dodgy one! We (in a few years, just the Pazzo and I), might need a trip to the USA, just to check that, what I think a brownie should be, is close to what it actually is. Just to make sure I really am on the right page when it come to brownies, my specialty.