Monday, October 24, 2011

Crunchy Brownies and Weathered Hands

 Texture is a beautiful thing.  It adds so much depth, so much character, and so much beauty to everything.  A pair of old withered hands with unending wrinkles holds so many stories.  Each line adding another dimension and another layer of history. 

My favorite hands are my Papa's.  He has had a hearing problem his whole life so in order for him to understand what you are saying you have to sit close to his good ear.  While doing this he always reaches for the hands of the person he is speaking with, and gently holds their hands in a loving grip.

His kind spirit and beautiful soul have been a gift to us all, and I pray everyone is as lucky as I am to have a grandparent as loving as him. 

I recently went to visit him in Louisiana, and was saddened to see his health so deteriorated.  When I entered the room and went to his side he reached for my hand, and said hello.  He had a confused look on his face and I could tell he was trying to remember my name...never before, had he struggled with this.  He was extremely distressed and angry at himself for not being able to remember my name.  I couldn't help but cry knowing that his mind may not remember me, but his heart surely did.  I reminded him of my name, and he reassured me he had not forgotten me.  Irregardless of his failing memory, his hands remained the same, and he held mine as we chatted about food and poetry.

I inherited many things from my Papa...including his poor hearing...but I also inherited his love of good food.  He has a great palette, and we have shared many meals together analyzing and being food critics.  After years of visiting him in Lafayette I know where he likes to eat, and what dishes he likes to order.  So when it came time to order Thai food, he couldn't remember what he usually ordered from when I reminded him that his favorite dish was eggplant Thai his face lit up, and he was so happy that I knew what he liked.  I am grateful that we have been blessed to share so many meals together.

I hope to make these brownies for him one day, because like me he too likes to eat things with depth of flavor and texture.  These brownies are crunchy because of the turbinado raw sugar I used, and can be made even more crunchy by adding walnuts or pecans.  Make these brownies today and go visit an elderly person in your life, hold their withered hands, and share good stories and good food.  You won't regret it.

Eat your heart out,

Crunchy Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment or tin foil
In a double boiler melt together and stir just  until smooth:

6 TBS unsalted butter
8 oz (1 1/3 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

Once butter and chocolate chips are melted remove from heat and add:

3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir until smooth and add 1 at a time, stirring after each addition:

2 large cold eggs

Once combined add:

1/3 cup plus 1 TBS all purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup toasted and chopped (pecans or walnuts) (optional, I opted out)

 Stir until smooth and combined.  Pour into lined pan, and smooth out.  Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs.  Cool.

 Look a leaning tower of brownies : )

 Guess what?  I finally caught on that having a print option for my recipes was probably a good idea!  So if you like a recipe and want to print it out just click on the printer icon at the end of each post.  Then you can delete any of the words and pictures you don't want printed.  Let me know if you have any problems with this new feature, and happy printing!

 Listen to this great song by JJ Heller - What love really means


  1. Dags, this brought a tear and a smile! Thank you for sharing! I cant wait to try these...yum.

  2. What a touching story..and those brownies look so good, perfect in my opinion!!!

  3. thanks for sharing your story. the brownies look dense, rich and gooey!

  4. What a sweet post! My grandfather used to always take our hands when we were speaking to him as well. I'd forgotten that and you brought it back to me. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for all the kind words!!! You would all love my grandfather if you knew him too : ) He is the best!