At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Monday, 25 August 2014

goooooooo-dness gracious, these are very, very gooey brownies.

BUT before we go on to ganache and other things...another very, very important baking update. 
Today my chocolate-loving sister popped down to see us for the day. And so I thought, hmm. I need to make one of the chocolatiest things possible. (how I love that made-up but oh-so-awesome word. ;) ) And then I suddenly realised it had been a long, long time since I had made brownies. And brownies are one of the first things I ever baked that really, really made my apron...well, cocoa-stained I suppose. Out of all the things I have ever made...I have to say my brownies have endeared themselves to so many of my family and friends.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this is, well, brownies can be quite tricky; and achieving the perfect brownie by yourself is certainly no mean feat. As we all know, the ideal brownie had a lovely crusty sugary top and should be a nice even square or rectangular shape...but on the inside there should be a squishiness; a chocolatey goeey fudginess which one just will not find in ordinary chocolate cake. 
Unfortunately many of us make the mistake of overcooking our brownies, resulting in a cakey, dry like texture. It really is all in the timing. A few minutes over can actually make a such drastic difference. So it's so, soooo crucial to watch those brownies like a hawk once they're nearing the end of their cooking time...
I've been lucky though in that ever since I made my first brownie, I pretty much got the cooking time just right...and so I knew from the very beginning how long each of my three favourite brownie recipes (these being chocolate chunk brownie, chocolate fudge brownie, and double chocolate brownie) needed to achieve squidgy chocolatey perfection. And also: something else I learnt to do right from the very start, and have accordingly been practicing each time I decide to bake brownies. They MUST, at all circumstances, be cooled in the tin. No matter how tempting it may be to cut them and eat them warm...well of course, you can do that if you really, really must, but you're definitely going to need a spoon and try to only remove one single brownie from the tin and leave the others intact. When they've been out of the oven for a bit, mark them into squares alright, but it pains me to tel you (but you will thank me in the end for it, honestly) that you are going to have to leave your brownies for a long, long while if you want to be able to cut them into squares.
And they're the most important things to remember to do, really. I made the chocolate chunk brownies today, and they were very, very gooey, indeed. If you were to take a look at the contents of the tin an hour or so after baking, and have prodded them with a finger, you probably would have thought I had made an error in my judgement of cooking time again and that they weren't cooked enough. But many long, longgggg hours later...sixteen little squares had been cut and removed from the tin. They weren't perfectly rectangular, as you can see, but I wasn't too concerned about that. Oh, did I say sixteen? No, fifteen, I stand corrected. My sister and I just couldn't help probably can already guess our crime, can't you. And so not only was Ganache-Elf's apron cocoa-stained that Friday's likely that her fingers, hands and chin probably were, too. Eating a still warm and incredibly gooey brownie is a delightfully messy business. 

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