There are times in our lives when people who are no longer with us just “appear”. Maybe a light breeze touches your hair in just such a way to trigger a memory. Or the scent of a flower will recall a first love. There is a feeling of warmth; of comfort and a sadness all rolled into one that will sweep over you, even if it is only for a moment.
There are times when I miss my brother – when his loss is felt so deep, yet the memory of him warms me. These waves of emotion seem to come at the oddest of times. You would think that sense of loss would be the strongest on Christmas morning when you notice someone’s absent. Or the Thanksgiving Table, when we count our blessings and give thanks. Do I miss him then? Yes, but not in the same way as those flashes of him pop into my reality unexpectedly. They are joyfully sad surprise visits, when I am caught off guard. I miss my friend, my partner in crime.
Brother Dear loved all things chocolate. Chocolate cake eaten warm with butter on top. And Brownies – how he loved brownies! When I looked over my planned baking treats for Christmas, I realized that Brownies were not a part of that plan. I could sense his disapproval. Can’t have that. So here’s to you, baby brother. A Brownie true to his dark chocolate heart.
Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies
1/3 cup DUTCH-PROCESSED COCOA powder
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (about 1 minute in the microwave does the trick – just place the butter in a mug or bowl cut into chunks)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Adjust oven baking rack to the bottom and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil to create a sling for the brownie batter. This will make it easier to remove the brownies from the pan. Just place a piece of foil in one direction, then place a piece of foil going the opposite direction. Allow the foil to hang over the sides. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the boiling water and the cocoa powder. Use a whisk to stir until the cocoa powder is dissolved.
Add in the unsweetened chocolate, and whisk until all of the chocolate is melted. To the melted chocolate mixture, add melted butter and oil. Whisk to blend.
Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. Whisk to blend wet ingredients.
In another bowl, mix sugar, flour, and salt. Stir until dry ingredients into wet ingredients until all are combined.
Fold in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the pan lined with foil.
Bake on the bottom rack for 30 to 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness, you want some moist crumbles to be on the toothpick which means they are cooked just right. If the toothpick comes out clean, you’ve overcooked the brownies.
Remove the brownies from the oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for about 90 minutes. Then, use the foil overhang to lift the brownies out of the pan. Allow the brownies to continue to cool for an additional 60 minutes. Cut the brownies into squares and serve.