|Dense Chocolate Brownies with Poured Ganache|
Back in the days when I used to make my living teaching high school English to the masses, without fail, every April 20th would bring a round of pot innuendoes followed by a whole lot of snickering. The students believed they were the only ones in the know about the counter-culture references and for the most part, I’d play dumb and move right on along with my lecture.
Truthfully, I hadn’t given much thought to 4-20 for a few years and without any teenagers around to remind me, I was happily enjoying my Saturday night until I flicked on the news. Either it was a slow day for local news, or counter-culture isn’t so covert anymore, because right there, smack at the top of the hour was a story about how the police got wind that there was going to be a 4-20 party at a local beach so they sent out a troop of officers to intervene. The real news, though, was that no one showed up–except the police.
It was enough to get me out of bed and send me to the kitchen. I felt like showing some solidarity with the people–well, not really; all that talk about pot and police made me think about brownies and since I had some leftover ganache in the fridge, I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to whip up a batch.
So there I was, the brownies in the oven while I searched the internet reading up on all the urban myths circulating about 4-20. The best part was that no one really seemed to be able to pinpoint anything specific–no one could remember. In fact, the entire history was pretty foggy. Even funnier, though, was when Mr. B walked into the kitchen at midnight to find me enjoying my brownies while schooling myself on counter-culture. He raised his eyebrows and sized me up, clearly wondering if I’d put anything ‘organic’ into my brownies, then, deciding otherwise, he pulled up a chair, grabbed a brownie and listened, as I told him all about my research.
Mel’s Counter-Culture Brownies
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 stick of butter
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cold ganache, microwaved for 1 minute until smooth and glossy
1/4 cup chopped walnuts for garnishing the brownies
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. In a glass bowl, melt chocolate and butter in the microwave until the butter is melted and the chocolate melts as it is stirred.
3. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine; add the white sugar and stir.
4. Add the egg and the egg yolk and stir until thoroughly mixed.
5. Add the flour; stir until smooth.
6. Add the walnuts.
7. Spray an 8×8 glass pan with non-stick cooking spray; add brownie batter and smooth evenly into the pan.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until firm to the touch; cool slightly then pour the warmed ganache over the top; sprinkle with additional walnuts and let cool for 15-20 minutes until cutting.