You youngsters aren’t going to get this, but those of my generation and older will. 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 little brother – when his loss is felt so deep, and the memory of him warms me. These are the oddest of times. You would think that sense of loss would be on Christmas morning or when we are carving up the Thanksgiving Turkey. Do I miss him then? Yes, but not in the same way as those flashes of yesterday just pop up unexpectedly. I kind of like his surprise visits, when I am caught off guard. Sometimes it’s the sparkle of his dark eyes or his warm chuckle that passes through me. Other times, it’s a moment in time frozen in my memory.
Catching little butterflies in our hands and bringing them to Mom to put in a jar – Brother Dear caught a “loud” butterfly – which turned out to be a honey bee. Running down a rolling hill, only to have Brother Dear take a tumble. All the while Mom is catching the rolling, somersaulting youngster on film. You would have thought a mother’s first instinct would have been to drop the movie camera and run to her child. I guess Mom realized there was nothing she could do to stop his downward momentum so she captured it all on Super-8. Brother Dear suffered no real injuries, barely a bruise by the time he stopped rolling. Did you know you cannot raise polliwogs to become frogs in fresh bath water; but you can if you fill the tub with stinky creek water? These are the memories that spring forth, as if from no where and catch me by surprise.
Brother Dear loved all things chocolate. Chocolate cake eaten warm with butter on top. And Brownies – how he loved brownies!
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.