It's an overcast day, perfect for baking brownies and watching leaves fly past the kitchen window.
I no longer have that overwhelming feeling of impatience about Rafael's arrival. The closer I get to his due date, the more I feel rested and assured that yes, he will come, and no, I won't be pregnant forever. So I'm pursuing happiness today, like Susan Branch suggested, and that involves licking brownie batter from a wooden spoon.
I discovered this recipe over at the beautiful blog Honey & Jam; it promised gooey, chewy, rich brownies that were easy to make and didn't require bar chocolate. The result is delicious and everything Hannah promised.
Gooey Cocoa Brownies
courtesy of hannah from honey and jam
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave for 1:30 minutes (since I don't own a microwave, Hannah suggested I melt the mixture in a bowl over boiling water).
Remove and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are added. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using.
Spread evenly in the lined pan. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.
Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
I've been pretty good about eating healthily and staying active throughout pregnancy; up until now I resisted the many times I've longed to bake batches of cookies or tins of pies. But now, nearing the end, I can feel this need to pamper myself, to take it easy, and to thoroughly enjoy these last days of pregnancy.
I am including the picture below, taken this morning while waiting for the brownies to cool, to remind myself later of the incredible size my belly expanded to...and the incredible things my body is capable of. I know some day I'll look at this photo in disbelief!
No wonder my back hurts....