No, not the kind that causes ingredients to move by themselves and cakes to arise out of thin air, a la Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmother. And no, not of the kind that induces all kinds of pleasure a la that French guy in the Matrix in the last instalment that was so pointless that I felt pointless.
What I can do, however, is to create new sorts of textures never before tasted (only because people don’t generally sell weird stuff). What I can do, formidably, I might add, is to somehow always achieve hybrids of what I am actually trying to cook.
It’s like middle-class has finally caught up to me. I am not so bad that I can never speak of it again. I am not so good that I can never stop speaking of it again. I have achieved a plateau of slight indifference to the awesome and the appalling.
My first-attempt brownies were a cross between cookies and brownies. They had a – dare I say it – crispy crust. Not hard, but actually crispy, complete with a nice crackling sound when I ran my knife down its sides.
The insides, and this is where most of you would say it counts the most, were in a way pressure-cooked. Perhaps my ingredients had been so obediently whipped into shape that they had somehow formed a dense molecular civilisation hell-bent on staying glued together. When I poured the mixture into the cake pan I was faintly aware of how united it was, glooping out of the pan silently, berating me as if separating its kind was worthy of a curse. What ensued was inevitably the densest crumbly texture I had ever tasted. It was just short of melting in your mouth. Rather, it kind of held its own for about 5 seconds, then, as if in tears, broke down and became a crumbly, familiar sort of brownie texture.
They were helpless without milk. Kids, don’t try this at home without adult supervision. These decadent treats will take over your world.
175 dark chocolate (I used Cadbury’s 70% dark cacao)
4 egg whites
1/3 cup fine white sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
60g dark soft sugar
Pinch of salt
Few drops vanilla extract
140g all-purpose flour
60g Hershey’s cocoa powder
Preheat oven to a nice hot 170°C. Butter your square cake pan and line with baking paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl held over simmering water. You should get a nice silky texture. Never let the chocolate burn, or else you get a nasty taste in the mouth. Take it off the heat and let cool. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
This is my favourite part, always. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar till foamy. Gently add in white sugar while beating. In the end you should get a nice texture that resembles melted pearl –glossy yet firm.
Sieve flour, cocoa and dark sugar and salt into a bowl.
Now (1) slowly mix egg white into melted chocolate mixture. Stir till no white streaks are left. (2) Slowly shake in the dry flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Do not let it clump up, but don’t whip the air out.
Pour the completed batter into the cake pan and have a go at the oven at 170°C for 15 minutes or so.