Sameen– my other college roommate– and I share a deep and abiding love for brownies, but not just any will do. We both despise the dry, cakey, airy squares that often masquerade as real brownies– and, unfortunately, we’ve experienced our share of brownie disappointment.
But there is a place– a magical, wonderful place–where the coffee is good enough and the brownies are out of this world. Directly across the street from Ideal Market, the grocery store where I worked while attending CU, Breadworks is home to the most incredible brownie I’ve ever tasted. They are dense and fudgy and huge, packed with chocolate chunks and walnuts, and dusted with powdered sugar. At least once a week for two years, Sameen and I sat in our living room (or in the car at the base of the flatirons, or on a bench near Boulder Falls, or at a table at Whole Foods–yep, they sell them there, too!)– enjoying these phenomenal brownies and discussing anything and everything.
Although it’s been more than five years since we finished school and left Boulder, every once and a while I get a serious hankering for a brownie (or three) and a long chat with Sameen. So yesterday, in a fit of inspiration (and chocolate fueled desperation), I decided that I would bake her a batch of as-close-as-I-can-get to-Breadworks brownies and send them to her for her birthday this week, along with a simple request: we eat our brownies “together” over Skype in a few days.
But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not a great baker.
When I bake for Dmitri and me, I almost always try to add in too many extras, or I incorrectly substitute (or completely omit) ingredients because I feel guilty about using as much butter or sugar or chocolate as the recipe calls for. But it’s different when you bake for somebody else. Today, however, because the stakes were high, there were no substitutions or omissions– and there was no guilt.
Today, there was butter. And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And I followed the recipe– this amazing, phenomenal recipe that made me feel like a successful baker http://iowagirleats.com/2009/09/25/in-case-you-missed-it-the-only-brownie-recipe-youll-ever-need/— to the letter.
Because I was out of baking chocolate, I combined 12 tablespoons of cocoa with 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (yes, in addition to the 3/4 cup of butter already called for; if you’ve started calculating fat grams, I suggest that you stop immediately). I was tempted to toss toasted pecans and coconut, or even M&Ms, over the top of the still-baking bars, but I held back– and I’m so glad that I did, because the subtle coconut flavor complemented these simple brownies so very well. Granted, they’re not Breadworks’ bars, but you know what? They’re freaking delicious anyway.
Sameen’s treats should arrive Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to our date.
And until then, I’m going to protect this lone brownie– the only one that survived yesterday evening (yes, Dmitri had a hard time resisting these, too)– from all of the grabby hands (and paws!) in our house.