Here are thought provoking, sometimes politically incorrect, and always amusing,…
Just another Saturday in Istanbul: browsing antique stores in the European neighborhood of Beyoglu in the morning, baking brownies in the late afternoon at my house on the continent of Asia. Originally the plan was to check out Design Scene Istanbul, featuring the sculptor Tarkan Guveli, fashion designer Susana J. Denia, and architect and founder of Atelier 187, Osman Hacioglu. Design Scene Istanbul, a brand new venue, took place inside the historic Cezayir Building, built in 1902 as a school by the Italian Workers Society. In 2005 it was renovated, and now houses the Cezayir Garden, Lounge, and Rooms respectively.
However, on my way back to Istiklal Caddesi, I found myself right near Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, so having read the insanely tedious, or “quirky” little book of the same title, I had to check it out. The high volume of minuscule items on display were able to bring back vivid, sentimental recollections from the novel. The gallery, Carre de’Artistes, on the way back to Istiklal was decent. On the Anatolian side one feels a little art deprived, so any gallery with half a decent collection feels exceptional somehow. I did enjoy browsing through the works of artist and feminist, Ayla Aksoyoglu, so there.
Why brownies?….I’m not going to lie, it was Coffee Brew Lab’s confection that inspired me to make my own brownies. I’m pretty competitive, so my goal was to make a better one, and besides, I hadn’t made any for a while, so it was time. I started assembling my ingredients, and then realized “Oh #@&% I’m out of butter”. However, I did have some little boxes of creme in my refrigerator, so I wanted to see if it would work with that, sans oil. I melted quite a large amount (about 400 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. I was given a 5 kg. bar of dark chocolate for Valentine’s Day, so I have a lot of chocolate on hand. After it melted and cooled a bit, I added 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, 1 cup sugar, and the small box of creme (200 ml). I mixed until smooth. Separately, I whisked together 3/4 cup flour 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. baking powder. I then added the dry ingredients to the wet, and stirred just barely to combine (there were lumps, but it was fine.) I poured the batter into paper muffin cups set inside a muffin tin, and placed in the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes. I checked on them after 20 minutes, giving them a little shake. They didn’t wiggle so I figured they were done.
The Verdict: Amazing.. turned out light, yet rich. I remedied the airy texture by topping with homemade chocolate ganache. It just upped the chocolate factor, and made them appear more like brownies, not cake. Next time I would skip the baking powder.