Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips

Well people, I have absolutely outdone myself. It's not a joke this time. I have gone completely over the edge, combining all of my favorite things - chocolate, flour, espresso, and unicorn tears. Alright, I didn't actually use flour. Seriously though, I decided I wanted to feel like one of those people who gets motivated and then does something about it. What do they call those people? Oh right, successful. Ya. I wanted to feel like that. So.... normally, I take a recipe from one of my favorite wealthy, lovable, and slightly rotund television cooks - Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Guy Fieri (Ew gross. Totally kidding about the Guy Fieri thing) - adjust it to suit the little chocolate-loving fat kid who lives inside my head, and then eat until I feel better about myself or at least until Robert tells me I can come up from the basement. This time I decided to get a little creative and actually concoct my own recipe. I know. I know. I'm awesome. Take a moment and think about it. Done? Take your time. Now? Great. You see, if I'm ever going to realize my dream of being a power gay with two adoptees who lives off his husband's millions, well I'd better figure out something to contribute - a way to keep my man, as Snookie might say. Some people bring intellectual prowess, a god-like physique, or an astute literary mind. Me? I bring brownies and a profound love for Judy Garland. And so, I created my version of Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips. AAAAH. The timer just went off. Checking the brownies...

Alright people. I'm back. These motherf***ers look AMAZING! Gooey chocolate with white chocolate chips just calling your name. "Hey! Psst. Hey You! Up there. Hate your job? Your loveless marriage? Eat me. You'll feel better." See people, as I always say, dessert can really heal or at least distract until the next counseling appointment with that self-righteous doctor who thinks she has everything figured out. You know? The one who apparently has no idea that she has a lateral lisp or that nylons shouldn't be worn with peep toe ballet flats.

I've placed my first totally original recipe below. Enjoy.

Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup (1 gloriously fattening stick) butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (The real stuff. Not "vanilla flavoring")
2 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp espresso
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the base and sides of an 8 inch square pan with parchment (Or screw it and just spray the thing down with cooking spray. Better yet, line it with butter. Ya. Use butter)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-boiler - which is just a fancy word for a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the butter is melted, stir in the chocolate chips. (You will immediately want to pour the mixture into a mug and get to drankin'. BUT DON'T. Resist. It'll be worth it.) Stir in the brown sugar, the vanilla, and the pinch of salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and espresso. Sift away until everything looks well blended. (Make sure Miss Lohan is nowhere in sight. I hear she loves chocolate...not to mention powdered drugs...She might think you've come up with a mixture just for her. If she is nearby, assure her that you're using flour purchased at Trader Joes, rather than her favorite Wednesday afternoon snack, AKA "the good stuff" imported from Columbia.) Where was I? Oh right. Now add the two eggs "one at the time" - as Paula Deen says. Mix away until combined.

Now add your chocolate mixture to the flour mixture. Whisk and whisk til you can't whisk no more. Then add the white chocolate chips and the pecans. When the batter is nice and smooth pour it into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes and then transfer the brownies to a chopping board. Cut into squares. Head to the deepest darkest corner of your apartment and silently eat them while you imagine what could have been.

The end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Restorative Effect of Mac N' Cheese or I Eat To Numb The Pain

Cheese and Noodles Can Save Lives

My boyfriend, Robert, doesn't like dessert. I'm going to type that again lest you think your eyes have gone berserk. Here we go. Deep breath now: My boyfriend, Robert, doesn't like dessert. Truthfully, it's the biggest problem in our relationship. I finish eating dinner and I think, "Hm? What sort of chocolate cake, minty ice cream, or baked good can I stuff into my mouth," all the while ignoring the fact that I feel like Star Jones before bypass surgery but after she divorced her (allegedly) gay husband. Robert on the other hand thinks to himself, "Yum. That was delicious. I'm good for the next month." It's a problem that's most probably connected to my need to fill the deep gaping hole that is my spirit. But I don't want to think about that. Got anything chocolatey I can eat?

Sidenote: I realize it's been like ninety-two years since I last updated this blog's been hot in New York this summer. Ya! That's it! I'll take Lame Excuses For Not Updating My HILARIOUS Blog for a thousand!

Back to the story: So Robert has this new job and I' guessed it...mostly kind of being an actor/performer/swim lesson instructor/manny...all the while wishing that I could just be a dad and bake for my cute little Chinese adoptee. Anyway, he's got this new job and everyone gets super-stressed out there. I've tried to assuage their tightly-wound nervous systems with baked goods, and while each sweet confection has brought momentary calm to the Contemporary Menswear offices at Saks Fifth Avenue, I always felt like they wanted more. Dessert just wasn't cutting it. And let's be honest, a person can bake all sorts of things, sweet and savory. I've known for a while that I needed to bring out the big guns. Yes sir. You guessed it. I had to take out the Barefoot Contessa cookbook and open the page to the most mouthwatering, guilt-inducing, deliciousness since the Hostess Apple Fruit Pie. It was time to make The Barefoot Contessa's Macaroni and Cheese. With this recipe - and all of its caloric saturation - I'm bound to help Robert and his office mates survive the upcoming fashion week and maybe even a couple weeks after that. If anything, I'll motivate them to hit the gym because after they eat this mac and cheese, they're going to need to put in a few hours/days on the treadmill. Or they could just go the Lindsay Lohan way - cocaine, Starbucks coffee frapuccino, and a touch of self-hatred. I don't know. It seems to keep her pretty skinny. In any case, I hope they enjoy it and I hope you'll enjoy making it, eating it, and then feeling super guilty because you ate it.

Here comes my version of Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese.

Adapted from

• Kosher salt
• Vegetable oil
• 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
• 1 quart milk - That's 4 cups, in case you didn't know.
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 12 ounces Emmental Cheese, grated (4 cups)
• 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.