Dark chewy smoky brownies

Dark, chewy, smoky browines

Dark, chewy, smoky browines

I’ve started to notice a certain phrase popping up all over the place, lately. That phrase is “home cooks.” The first time I saw it was in the Guardian, describing a contest for said home cooks. I felt slightly, inexplicably annoyed, but I berated myself for being such a curmudgeon and got on with my life. Then the TV at work was on the food network and there were not one, but two shows about home cooks. Eager, tail-wagging home cooks who couldn’t believe they’d get to meet a celebrity chef. And now, there was no denying it, I felt annoyed. “Home cooks.” It sounds so patronizing and dismissive, doesn’t it? It sounds as though they’re talking about ladies in house dresses exchanging recipes for casseroles made with spam and velveeta clipped from their women’s magazines. (Now I’m sounding dismissive! There’s nowt wrong with spam and velveeta!) It really seemed as though they’d come up with a new demographic of people to sell things to, and I was in that demographic. I hate being in a demographic! Well, I walked around feeling irked about this development for a few weeks. And then, yesterday, I had a breakthrough. Whilst driving my sons to the supermarket to pick up supplies to do my home cooking, we listened to the Clash. (Lord they’re good!) And, once again, The Clash had all the answers, this time, in the form of their song Garageland. I don’t want to be a called a home cook, I thought, I want to be a garage cook! And then I realized how unappetizing that sounds. I want to be a garageband cook! A punk rock cook! I want to combine flavors in a way that might seem novel and jarring at first, but makes sense when you’ve tried it a few times, and makes you feel exited and energized. I want to be brimming over with creativity and new ideas, even if it seems sloppy at times! And I don’t have much respect for “celebrity chefs,” I’ve never been all that impressed by their recipes or their ideas, and

    I don’t wanna hear about what the rich are doing
    I don’t wanna go to where the rich are going
    They think they’re so clever, they think they’re so right
    But the truth is only known by guttersnipes

(I read a profile of a certain well-known chef, and all the interesting things he’s doing, and all the interesting places he’s going, and I learned that “food bloggers and women over fifty are his most boring customers.” Double stab in the heart! I’m not a woman over fifty yet, but I hope to be one someday!) Who needs that? Not me! (Heh heh, let’s see if I can find an interesting recipe to use up all of my sour grapes!)

Of course, I also very much like the idea of being a home cook. Part of the beauty of cooking is that you create a home. By combining foods you like and feeding people you love, you make a home, no matter where you are or what your living situation. It’s all part of the warmth, the nourishment, and the love. Let’s just hope that home has a spacious garage where you can make some noise!!

These brownies were ridiculously, addictively good. They’re dark – made with bittersweet chocolate chips and very dark cocoa. They’re chewy inside, and very dense and heavy, the way brownies should be! Nice and crackly on top. And they have a haunting, smoky flavor, because I grated in a little black cardamom, and added some smoked sea salt. It’s subtly, but quite lovely! Black cardamom is a funny-looking beetle-y spice. I grated a little of the husk on a microplane, just a touch, and it added its nice smoky almost savory flavor. If you don’t have black cardamom or smoked sea salt, make these anyway, because they’re really good!!

Here’s Garageland, by The Clash


1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 t smoked salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t ground black cardamom
1/3 cup cocoa powder (the darker the better)
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a brownie pan or large rectangular baking dish.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add all of the dry ingredients and stir to mix well. It should be a fairly thick dough. Stir it the chocolate chips.

Press the dough into the baking pan in an even layer. Bake for about 20 – 5 minutes till it seems firm to the touch. Let it cool and then cut into squares.

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3 thoughts on “Dark chewy smoky brownies

  1. I’ve never heard of velveeta, sounds meaty? I too get annoyed by celebrity chefs, you and your recipes are much more interesting than any I’ve ever encountered!

    • Velveeta is cheese, Beth. Well, it’s “cheese.” It comes in a soft but solid block and I guess it’s supposed to be velvety, but I wouldn’t call it that!

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