December 19, 2008

Brownies, Blondies and Bites

When I worked part time in an office, (hi Office People!) I got into the habit of bringing baked goods in with me for almost every shift. It got to the point where if I didn’t show up with cookies I might as well of not showed up at all. Staff from the surrounding offices also knew that when I came it there was a good likelihood that there would be treats and would wander over to see what I’d brought. Sometimes the supply of baked goods was smaller than other times, (there was always enough to go around but maybe not for seconds or thirds or fourths) and it was at those times that we joked that I was really running psychological experiments on my coworkers. They said I was gradually bringing in less and less so that I could observe their behaviour when forced to choose between being nice and getting the last cookie. Of course I’d first made them dependent on butter and sugar so that they really felt like they needed that cookie and would do anything to get it. It probably helped my cause that my shifts frequently started late in the afternoon when stomachs were starting to rumble and the desire for a snack was high. Unfortunately I moved away and left the office to start my current job before I could watch them in action on the day that I only brought in one cookie. It would have been a Vegas worthy fight.

Now that I’m working at the restaurant my baking has been severely curtailed. (The one thing I do bring in is ice cream, but that’s purely for selfish reasons as I’m trying to convince Chef that he needs to buy an ice cream machine.) It’s not that I don’t want to be baking, I do, but I’m currently running into two problems. The first is that I have a whole lot less time on my hands and simply can’t spend as much of it baking. The second is that I have nowhere for my baking to go, (apparently my stomach cannot be the only option). I’m less inclined to bring cookies or squares into the restaurant because we’re already surrounded by food so the interest is much lower than it was at the office. But how am I supposed to analyze behaviour if I can’t even get people to fight to the death over a cookie? Basically it’s the wrong environment to carry out my observational studies in, at least in their previous form. There’s plenty of weird behaviour to catalog, tons of it actually, it’s just not brought out by creating a cookie shortage, (and besides, they’re cooks, I figure they can make their own if they really wanted one). So my problem remains. To solve it I either have to bake less or deal with eating more treats than I should ever consume and still hope to live to see the next day. I even tried mailing some baked goods away but quickly decided that was a bandaid solution that caused other problems, namely a shortage in my wallet and smushed product that never arrived at its destination quickly enough. It’s an ongoing dilemma…

While I try to figure it out, feel free to enjoy four more Martha Stewart recipes from her latest book, Cookies. The Cappuccino-Chocolate Bites, are actually supposed to be sandwich cookies but I didn’t feel like making a filling for them and they were pretty good all on their own. The Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies are tooth-achingly sweet and are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee to cut the sweetness. The Gingerbread-White Chocolate Blondies were good but you’ll probably like them more than I did if you like white chocolate. I can only deal with it in very, very small doses. And finally, Chocolate-Ginger Brownies. I’m constantly buying candied ginger with the hope of baking with it but I usually end up eating it all before it ever makes it near a baked good. These brownies don’t even call for candied ginger but I felt the need to add some in, if only to prove that I could actually get the ginger into my baking before my mouth.

Chocolate-Ginger Brownies, (from Martha Stewart’s Cookies)

½ cup unsalted butter

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup all purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened, Dutch process cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp cloves

¼ cup minced, candied ginger, (my addition)

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter and chocolate together in medium saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the other ingredients.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake 30-35 minutes until a tester inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I think the brownies would be my choice -- chocolate and ginger is an irresistible combination. I love Martha's Cookies book, too.

Manggy said...

Oh, you schemer!! :P I think by the time you brought in only one cookie they would have figured you out already :)
The blondies look the yummiest to me, pity though that they are tooth-achingly sweet. So I guess the brownies win again! :D

Snooky doodle said...

wow how many nice treats. I work in an office so I have alot of workmates to share my treats with and usually they order some cakes too so I have a full time job and a part time one too while enjoying my baking :) I d like to try the Gingerbread-White Chocolate Blondies they look so so good .

Anonymous said...

I still think about the cupcakes and sweet pretzel thingies on a regular basis...

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i have the same problem-- working in a restaurant (or bakery, right now),who do i give my homemade stuff to? i just make half recipes of things so i have less to deal with at home. you can ship me some of those ginger brownies, though!!