The brownie-eyed monster

Many girly talents are exhibited early in a young female child’s life. Mothering instincts are practiced on dolls; business skills are learned while babysitting; socialization is demonstrated by hosting little tea parties for stuffed toys. 

I never kept dolls (I liked books and baseball equipment); I watched my younger siblings for free; and when I was in kinnygarden, my mother gave me a delicate tea set made of porcelain and it had taken me less than five minutes to send one dainty cup crashing to the bathroom floor. My mother shook her head, and sighed.

I was never much of a girly girl, lacking as I was in basic skills that came so naturally to much of the sisterhood. Like braiding hair, one of those early abilities that I have never been able to develop was baking brownies. My cookies are killer and I’ve made brilliant cupcakes; but the gift for turning out a batch of moist brownies has slipped through my grubby fingers. I’ve avoided making them Brownies scare the bejeezus out of me and the fact that I can’t donate a batch to bake sales has made palpable dents in my self-esteem. It’s just not normal.

The real culprits are those wonderful gourmet brownies that are a far cry from the ones baked from an instant mix. Dark as sin and baked with Guinness, for example, these uber-brownies just raised the bar for me. Surely I’ve made batches that were more than edible. I’ve watched my galpals swoon in delight while I served them my early attempts. But my palate is just spoiled that way, and I had fallen short yet again.

My brownie epiphanyUntil today. Today, I have had a brownie epiphany. Craving combined with writers block does crazy things. I have made personal history today, my friends. 

This recipe by Jamie Oliver took me about 20 minutes to whip up. When I saw how beautifully silky the batter was, I knew I was over that hump. Like everything Jamie creates, these brownies, with the surprising addition of dried tart cherries, are sexy and edgy and unconventional. And toe-curlingly awesome with vanilla ice-cream.

No wonder my friends were making brownies by the time we all turned 8. I thank my patient mother-in-law for her advice to beat well after each egg, beat well after each egg, beat well. After. Each. Egg.

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