Brownies With Cacao Nibs...
My aunt died yesterday. She was so young. 51. I have so many memories of her. She was my gorgeous, fun aunt. My mom's sister.
I was grabbing my kids knees and tickling them this morning, realizing that as I did it, she is the one who used to grab my knees and tickle. I was the flower girl at her wedding that forgot to throw the flowers; she let me throw them on the way back down the isle (smile). She taught me how to ski. I remember skiing with her at Alta and every guy on the mountain was after her... in her jumpsuit. It was the early 90's and she had the Farrah Faucet hairdo with the Rossi skis and that HOT jumpsuit! We toilet papered the neighbor's house when I was about 12. We got caught. I remember hiding behind this stone wall laughing with our rolls of TP while the neighbor stalked us. She was never afraid to have fun and get a little crazy. We had water ballon wars, hung out on the neighboring ranch to my childhood home, and went swimming. She was a lifeguard, an excellent swimmer, I remember swimming in Pocatello at a hotel while visiting her, she taught me to swim like a frog. That was it for me, I would always be drawn to water after that moment. She taught me to love chickens - she's responsible for my chicken habit!!!
Looking back, it is incredible how much influence she had on my life. Little things keep popping up that remind me of her. I can hear her laugh. I see her hold a bird. I remember when both of her kids were born. I called her Aunt "Snow" when I was little because I couldn't say Sue so well.
I want to remember her happy. And yes, she would vote for chocolate and Diet Coke, or maybe a cup of really good coffee when tragedy strikes.
In memory of my aunt and all of the wonderful things she taught me, I made brownies today. Chocolate for all occasions, good and bad. This one bitter, I added some cacao nibs to the tops of the brownies. These are extra fudgy, which means they are mostly butter. Really, if there are things in life doing well, chocolate is one of them, especially during sad times. Eat a brownie laden with butter and remember the good times.
BROWNIES WITH CACAO NIBS
adapted from David Lebovitz and The Sprouted Kitchen
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cocoa nibs for topping
Preheat the oven to 350'. Line the inside of a 8'' square pan with parchment or foil allowing the excess edges to extend beyond the edges of the pan. Lightly grease with butter or coking spray.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, pinch of salt and stir energetically for 1 full minute, until the batter looses its graininess, becomes smooth, and begins to pul away from the sides. Stir in some chopped nuts or other add ins.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle the cocoa nibs on top and bake until the center is almost set, about 25-30 minutes. Don't overbake. Let them cool completely before lifting out the parchment to remove brownies.
These brownies will keep well for 4 days and can be frozen for one month. For a clean cut, chill the brownies to get even edges and clean the knife between slices.