Dear Best-ever brownies recipe: it’s not you, it’s me. Your directions were clear. The tasks you outlined were simple and well-articulated. You are not to blame for my inattention to the cooking time nor for your ensuing overly dry texture by the end of the evening. Perhaps we should take a short break from each other—just temporarily—until I can truly give you the attention you deserve. Regretfully yours, Melanie.
So, as you may have guessed, my first ever Best-ever brownies attempt was less than successful. I had high expectations. I thought I was on the right track. I was proud of the fact that when I hit the baking supplies aisle of the grocery store looking for hazelnuts that I recognized and remembered that they would be sold under the name ‘filberts’ instead of ‘hazelnuts’. Yep, I was pretty confident. Even though I had some trouble removing the skins off the nuts (likely because I waited more than one minute after retrieving them from the oven). But I wasn’t overly concerned. But then, after cooking them for 35 minutes, I noticed that the edges were still moist so I set the timer for another 10 minutes, with every intention of checking them in five. But I started washing the dishes and forgot all about minding the brownies until the sharp bleating of the oven timer interrupted my dish-washing day-dreaming. In some ways, I am quite happy that I ruined this recipe and then brought the dry, crumbly product into the office the next day because:
1. I did not have enough brownies for each and every person in the office so had they turned out beautifully there would have been a violent stampede of colleagues climbing over each other in order to get a taste.
2. If the brownies had turned out, then two things would have happened: there would have been a new expectation for me to supply these brownies weekly and there would have been some under-the-breath comments about why I hadn’t been bringing in these brownies weekly all along.
3. Had I brought in tasty brownies, workplace productivity would have slowed to a dangerous pace, putting the company in peril. Colleagues would have clambered around my desk wanting to hear all my brownie adventures, interjecting with adjectives describing their enjoyment of the brownies and offering to hire me to cater their next special occasion event. I just don’t have the time to open my own catering company. In short, it would have been a nightmare.
So, instead, here are my favourite comments from my colleagues after having tasted my brownies:
1. “Umm, how long did you cook them for?”
2. “In all honesty, I think you may have overworked the flour.”
3. “Thanks for bringing in the brownies, Melanie. You really shouldn’t have.”
I did learn a lot from the experience, though. And one kind colleague shared a bit of advice with me that she learned from cake decorating class. When you are baking you must do nothing else: no washing of dishes, nor minding of children. I will try to follow this advice next time I attempt this recipe. I promise.