Divine Calm: "The Great Brownie Bake-off"

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9.29.2005

"The Great Brownie Bake-off"

A Little Background

Oh Mom would be sooo proud of me last night! First let me start off by saying that my mom is one of the best bakers in the world, and she did her best imparting her cooking knowledge to each of her daughters. As a little kid, I would sit on the counter helping her dump cupfuls of flour and chocolate chips into the concoction that would soon be gooey yumminess. So now every time I bake, I smile because I am carrying on the family baking tradition.

Well, last night, I have officially carried on another little known family tradition...forgetting key ingredients to recipes. Many years ago, my mom, who typically bakes to perfection, baked a pumpkin pie and forgot the eggs. For all of you who don't bake, eggs are a pretty key component to pumpkin pie. Basically, you don't have pumpkin pie without eggs. Let me tell you, SHE WAS MORTIFIED, and we all still tease her today. Mom, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!

At my work, we are having a brownie bake-off to raise money for charity. I love brownies (actually, the bake-off was my idea), so I decided to make my favorite brownies, "Tri'mmmm Brownies" aka "Tri-Level Brownies" from the Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook. After mulling over the ingredients and checking my supplies, I made the oatmeal crust. When the first layer was in the oven, I began putting the second layer's ingredients in the bowl and realized that I didn't have any (*GASP*) vanilla. So I tromped to the store, and upon my return and AFTER placing the second layer (with vanilla) into the baking pan, I realized that I hadn't put in the egg and put in too much flour.

Now I know that to many of you, making a new batch would seem like no big deal, but I was very frazzled last night with the upcoming LSAT and my boyfriend coming over just as I returned from my vanilla run. In other words, I was a mess...definitely not the immaculate image of Martha Stewart. The dogs were yapping and jumping their hellos to my boyfriend, and I needed to dump out the sticky thick mess of ruined brownies. I just wanted to cry, especially after hugging my boyfriend and getting flour all over his shirt!!! However, I made a new batch after a few errors (e.g. baking the crust for 10 minutes with the oven off) and went to bed...EXHAUSTED. Who would have thought brownies would be sooo difficult?

The Day of the Bake-off

After a morning of brownie secrecy among fellow co-worker bakers (e.g. "What kind of brownies did you make?" "Ummm, you'll have to wait and see"), everyone was trying to stifle their chocolate yearnings until the 2 pm judging time. Around 1:30 pm, I tried one of my brownies and decided that it was definitely missing something...salt. It's amazing how a night of sleep can calm your nerves, because I got the creative idea of salting the brownies instead of crying about my baking ineptitude. Now, I know it sounds disgusting, but hear me out! I just lightly dusted the plate the brownies would be sitting on with salt. This did the trick! Presto...pretty good brownies, if I say so myself.

Unfortunately, not everyone thought the same, because I didn't win. In fact, hardly anybody even tried my brownies. I'm trying to make myself feel better with the thought that maybe my co-workers don't like walnuts. Who knows? I did get some compliments from the couple of people who tried them...even one asked for a recipe. I'm still licking my wounds, but I hope I do better on the LSAT this Saturday than with my brownie escapade. On a parting note, the brownies that won came from a box of Duncan Hines. Maybe that says something about my co-workers' taste buds...or even the evolving/devolving tastes of society? As you can see, my injured pride has turned me into a brownie snob.