The Baked Brownie

It was probably only about a week or two but it felt like it took forever for us to get settled when we first moved to London. There were open suitcases and half-assembled shelves cluttering our small space, furniture that kept being moved every which way, and tasks that had been started and then abandoned because we didn’t have the proper tools for the job. Our flat was in disarray – and so, I thought, were our lives. Desperate to make peace with our space and claim it as our home, I was fixated on baking something even though I hadn’t even cooked a meal in our kitchen. Our kitchen was terribly under-equipped, with nary a bowl or wooden spoon, so I made one bowl brownies – or, I should say, one pot brownies as that’s all I had. They came out…okay. Not the best. It was my fault; not being able to find squares of unsweetened chocolate in the UK I tried using dark chocolate bars and fiddling with the amount of sugar but they didn’t come out right. I tried them again a few months later and they were better but still not awesome.

Fast forward eight(!) months and save for a few kitchen appliances and some bakeware we’ve decided not to invest in this year, we have all the baking tools that we could possibly need. And we have a new brownie recipe. It’s from the Baked NYC bakery (in, uh, NYC) and just reading through the ingredients I knew there was no way the brownies could be bad. There’s a whopping 11 ounces of chocolate as well as more in the form of cocoa powder, and an obscene amount of sugar and butter on top of that. I was right. These are the densest, fudgiest, best brownies I’ve ever eaten.

Allan baked these yesterday and they were a treat warm from the oven but even better today cold from the refrigerator, after a thorough chilling (and fudging-up). I have a bit of a compulsion with eating straight-edged, clean-sliced brownies, and Allan had dismissed this as one of my many neuroses but after I sliced up a brownie for him into perfect little cubes he’s a convert. You can find the recipe here. Allan baked for 23 minutes.

Funny thing is, these brownies don’t need any more equipment than what we had when we first moved in. For me, our brownie journey sort of traces the arc of our story so far here in London. We’re much more settled and confident; we’ve found our groove and made our home. And these brownies, while objectively delicious, are even better to me because they taste a little bit like home.