Friday, April 13, 2012

Enlightenment...One Step at a Time

I want you to take a deep breath, close your eyes, tie those apron strings and reach deep to commune with your inner domestic goddess. That's right, dudes: it's baking time again. I'm not going to lie, I appreciate the irony of me of all people telling someone else to find the joy of baking. But, considering I'm the kid who used to drag her feet and wear that sullen pouty-face of silent protest whenever I was asked to help cook, I find a strange contentment in days where I can do a bit of baking in the afternoons.

I simply can't explain it. I used to be so messy and now I find serenity in cleaning my house. I used to hate being in the kitchen and now I grin like an idiot when I get the chance to put E in his door bouncer or his crib and sling together some tasty baked goods. What twisted housewife has taken over my body!? Don't worry, though: I still hate washing the dishes, I'm still viciously sarcastic, and I can still quote 90% of the original Star Wars trilogy verbatim...clearly, I'm still the same person as I was when I was ten years old. (I'm not entirely sure that's something I should be proud of, though...)

Anyway, today's Quest for Domestic Godhood involved straying into the fiefdom of Betty Crocker. (I'd say Goddesshood, but that just sounds awkward. And we can just insist that in this context godhood is gender neutral, so we're totally being inclusive.) I made brownies. I don't think I can quite convey just how much of a BIG DEAL this is: I have never made brownies that didn't come from some mix in a box. All I've ever had to do was crack a few eggs and measure some water and oil into a mixing bowl. This, on the other hand, required melting some chocolate and breaking out some of my ground almond to keep using it up. (Thank goodness for surplus baking supplies.)

My Domestic Goddess Guru for the day? None other than the fantabulous Nigella Lawson. I wish I could make baking look that sexy. For realsies.

So, having ensconced my little boy in his door bouncer (yeah, that didn't last very long), I popped the butter and dark chocolate (225g of each) into a small pan and melted them on low heat.

this is where I pretend I know how not to burn everything...
I tossed in about 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 100g of caster sugar and then added the whole of that mixture to 3 beaten eggs and 150g of ground almonds.

At this point I was working quickly to get the mix slung into a baking-paper-lined pan and tossed unceremoniously into the oven at 170*C for about 30 minutes. (Note: I've since tossed it in for another 10 minutes as they were just a bit too gooey for my taste...I think I used a deeper, smaller pan than Nigella did) The reason behind the rush was a certain fussy and fidgety young man who shall remain nameless, but who was pitching the unholiest of all tantrums as he was desperately in need of a nap. Needless to say, the chronicling of this journey to my inner domestic self took a pause while I bundled up the little monster, headed into his room, and nursed him to sleep.

pretending not to cry for the camera

When I came back to the kitchen to tidy up as the timer ticked down, my patience was rewarded when I beheld the following masterpiece (if I can revel in my outright immodesty for a moment):

take THAT brownie mix in a box!
How awesome do I feel right now? Pretty darn, if I do say so myself. Apparently, Ethan does too, because he's screaming most exuberantly right now at Sophie the Creepy Giraffe (who deserves her own blog post, now that I think about it...). I think this feeling of indomitable awesomeness is the desired objective when trying to reach one's inner domestic goddess. I'll have to ask my guru...

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