Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Brownie

The brownie has been eluding me for years.  When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I could make a brownie like treat using gluten free flour.  It was edible and relatively close to real.  Then I developed an egg allergy.  I mastered baking just about everything without gluten or egg (or dairy or any of those other things usually used in baking).  Almost everything.  Two things eluded me: the brownie and the pancake.  Sometimes I could get something pancake like, but mostly I didn't care too much.  Brownies, on the other hand, were my nemesis.
I tried again and again.  I tried every egg substitute I could invent...everything from commercial egg replacer to mashed fruit to crazy combinations.  Most my trials were so awful that neither my brothers nor the dog would eat them.  There was one batch that I was sure Isaac would break a tooth on!  Eventually I gave up active pursuit of the Joy-friendly brownies.  The craving still sat in the back of my mind and everyone once in awhile I'd let it rear it's head...I'd see a commercial Joy-Friendly brownie at the store, and my mouth would water, but I was always too Dutch to cough up $2 for it. Besides, most commercial Joy-Friendly food, especially baked goods, can be classified as "icky" and are comparable in taste to badly flavored cardboard.
For Christmas I got a cook book. It had a brownie recipe in it.  There was nothing in the brownie recipe that I would need to substitute.  I got excited.  I got very excited.  Then I waited. I baked other successful (and not so successful) things from the book. I wanted to make sure I had at least a fighting chance at making successful brownies.
I finally tried the recipe earlier this week.  It failed.  It boiled all over the oven and had the consistency of toffee.  It was not the success I had envisioned in my head.  My roommate and I troubleshot together and found two mistakes.  I had used an 8 by 8 pan instead of a 9 by 9, and I had used sweetened chocolate instead of unsweetened (and I might not have baked it quite long enough, but the oven was starting to catch fire and the smoke detector was annoying me).  We ate all of the brownie soup (as we called it) and had a grand adventure in cleaning the pan. If you microwave a Pyrex pan with baked on brownie soup, it comes off rather nicely...who woulda thunk?  my amazing roommate, LDK, that's who!
I began to think that maybe making Joy-Friendly brownies was impossible, but I don't give up that easily.  After obtaining unsweetened chocolate and a 9 by 9 pan (and baking powder that didn't have corn in it!), I gave it one more go.  I'm glad I did.
After supper tonight LDK cut the still slightly warm brownies and brought them to the table.  It actually looked like a brownie.  I may have bounced up and down in my chair and clapped my hands and squealed a bit after my first bite.  LDK told me they definitely fell on the spectrum of how a brownie should taste.  Which made me even happier.  I should have taken a picture to post, but I was too busy devouring it. Maybe tomorrow.
Let it be known that the Joy-friendly brownie does indeed exist and is obtainable!

PS:  I also mastered a pancake like thing last week.  I will have pancakes for my birthday breakfast!  This has not happened for approximately many, many years (5 or 6 probably)...


Sarah Elizabeth said...

could you share a recipe?

Joy said...

For sure. It's from Cybele Pascal's book. I'll type it out when I'm back at my apartment. :)

Angela said...

Yay!! Doing a little happy dance for you...because, really, it doesn't get much better than brownies :)

Kayla said...

Thanks so much for sharing your joy over great brownnies with me today! It was yummy and I'm excited to try the recipe myself!