Category Archives: Book Report

Chocolatey, crumbly goodness. Unf.

Chocolatey, crumbly goodness. Unf.

Has a brownie ever been more famous than the Baked one? Baked NYC is a bakery in New York City (duh) that sells, among other things, what are supposed to be the most righteous brownies ever. Both Oprah and Martha Stewart are crazy about them. And some of my favorite foodies/bloggers/treat aficionados out there (America’s Test Kitchen, David Liebovitz, and the Food Network to name a few) also love the brownies. Needless to say, in my search for the perfect brownie, I had to taste one.

But I’m not in New York. So what’s a brownie-loving girl to do?

Well! It just so happened that Baked has their very own cookbook. So I ordered it online, waited patiently for Amazon to get it to me (thanks, M’s Prime Account! I only had to be patient a day or two), and made those bad boys as soon as that book was in my hot little hands.

Let me tell you: these suckers are OUTSTANDING. They are rich, gooey, and chocolate-y. M thought they were too soft and fell apart a bit too easily, and while I agree, I didn’t care too much as the brownie was already stuffed into my face and wasn’t going anywhere but in my belly.

For those of you who’ve forgotten, this is part of my quest for the ultimate brownie, or what I like to call The Brownie Face-Off. There are a few rules on which I judge brownies:

  1. Moistness – I don’t like cakey brownies. The denser, the better!
  2. Chocolatiness – Must be ultra chocolatey to win my seal of approval.
  3. Lack of coffee – SO MANY recipes call for espresso powder in their brownies. I don’t like this.
  4. Ease – I don’t want anything ridiculously hard to prepare.

I omitted number this time because I wanted to know what the supposed “best brownie ever” really tasted like. I tried it with espresso powder and it was amazing. I don’t like coffee one bit, but the powder doesn’t make the brownies taste like espresso, it just brings out the chocolate’s flavor. I was very, very wrong about espresso powder. I’m sorry, espresso powder. Forgive me?

Anyway, I rate these brownies a solid 18/20. They are definitely moist, chocolate-y, and fairly easy, but they did fall apart a bit too easily and were missing something that The Supernatural Brownies were not. Those babies were good. I should make some more….

But these are good, too! So make them if you like chocolate and are down with Oprah.

Baked Brownies

Makes 24 brownies

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

I include a photo like this every time, and it always is about the same. I just think it looks neat.

I include a photo like this every time, and it always is about the same. I just think it looks neat.

3. Melt the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder over a double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the double boiler on the stovetop. Add the sugars. Whisky until completely combined, then pour the mixture into a large bowl.

photo 1

You’re okay in my book, espresso powder.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey (THE HORROR!).

I was a rebel and added all the eggs at once.

I was a rebel and added all the eggs at once.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Swirly.

Swirly.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Ready to get hot in the oven.

Ready to get hot in the oven.

7. Let the brownies cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Brownies!

Brownies!


As I mentioned in a previous post, with a few exceptions (and M, obvs), my dating record leaves something to be desired. At the time I felt I was seeing unique individuals with sparkling, quirky personalities. As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and these “quirks,” more often than not, were actually just horrible personality traits, if not symptoms of psychopathy (sorry, Mom!).

via Gotham Books

via Gotham Books

Julie Klausner can relate. In her book, I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned From Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve DatedJulie (I’ve decided we’re on a first name basis, since if we met in person, I’m pretty sure we’d be besties) recounts in extreme detail the various losers she’s dated. The book is more of a memoirs than an advice book – though she does dole out some important pieces of wisdom, too.

Julie is also super relatable. It was like reading my own thoughts when she busted out this gem:

He was wearing a vest, too, and a thumb ring, which is never OK…

YES. SPOT-FRACKING-ON. I loathe vests worn in a casual fashion… Unless you’re Patrick Jane from The Mentalist, in which case, keep on keepin’ on, Mr. Jane. But any other time signals a Super Douche, IMO. And thumb rings are bad all the time. No exceptions.

via CBS

You’re A-Okay in my book, Mr. Jane.  Image via CBS

One of my favorite stories she recounts is about a dude who wants to “share a dick” with her. Not have a threesome, but “share a dick.” What the hell? Apparently, Julie’s reaction was the same as mine:

… Like anybody’s cock is so big that you’d be like, ‘I can’t finish this! Let’s split it.’

I don’t want to give the whole book away, because, if interested, you really should read it. It’s not super-deep or anything, but a funny, easy read with the same “gotta kiss a bunch of frogs” message told in a much more exciting, and in my case, relatable, way.