Ginger and pepper brownies
Isaac tells me that tomorrow he’ll be able to say “tomorrow is Christmas eve.” The excitement amongst the younger Ordinary set is palpable. And those of us with more Christmases-past under our belt and more worries on our shoulders? Well, we’re getting there, too. We’re lurching towards Christmas spirit. It’s hard not to, really, when we see the boys so happy and hopeful, even though my nose is so stuffed up that I can’t smell the Christmas tree and time is flying so fast that by the time I realize it’s Christmas it will all have passed. But the days are getting longer, and I swear I can almost feel it already. I was thinking that when I was younger Christmas seemed like such a special, separate time. Completely different from the days before and after it. Its own world, really, and it almost felt as if you travelled to this glowing other place, complete with jet-laggy let down when it was over. It doesn’t really feel like that any more, I guess because now that I’m pretending to be an adult the cares and concerns of daily life go on and on and on with non-festive inevitability, and even the merriest traditions take some planning for and cleaning up after. But I was also thinking that in some ways this is a good thing. This makes Christmas spirit, and all that that implies, easier to visit throughout the year. We can make quick trips, because it’s all woven in with our daily lives. And one of the ways that this manifests itself is in Christmas music. Not the time-honored carols and hymns that you really don’t want to hear the rest of the year because they’ll get spoiled, but the songs about Christmas and for Christmas that you can carry with you into the world outside Christmas-land, because they’re just that good. So today’s Sunday interactive playlist is non-traditional Christmas songs. I think I made a list of them last year, so we’ll start with that. We have some Jimmy Smith with Christmas cooking. Some really wonderful Eek a Mouse, Maytals and Ethiopians, some Run DMC. As ever, add what you like, or leave a song in the comments and I’ll add it through the week. We’ll have a nice long list by Christmas day!!
I may have mentioned earlier in the week that I was having trouble smelling or tasting anything. The only flavor that seemed to get through was ginger. So I drank gallons of ginger beer, and put ginger in everything I made. Including these brownies. They’re nice and dark, and they have a little bite. They have crystallized ginger, chopped quite fine, powdered ginger, and freshly ground black pepper. Nice.
Here’s a link to your interactive playlist.
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 t ginger powder
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/3 cup cocoa powder (the darker the better)
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup milk (+/-)
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a brownie pan or medium-sized 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, but stir-able, so add enough milk to make it like thick whipped cream. 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 pieces.