Subscribe

Get updates sent to you for free by RSS, or by email:

Archives

Currently Reading


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Am just starting News of the World: A Novel by William Morris. One of my book-reading friends said this is one of the best books she’s ever read in her LIFE. That kind of praise requires me to read it. It’s about an old man, during the early, old wild west times, who goes from town to town and people pay him money to read the newspaper to them. (Imagine, there WAS such a job.) By chance he’s asked to take a very young girl to Texas to reunite with her family. The child had been captured by an Indian tribe as a baby, raised by them, and she wants nothing to do with leaving. So the “hero” in this story has his hands full. Reaching the destination, there are lots of complications (of course!).

Just finished Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong. Have you ever read about forensic dentistry? I sure had not, so I found it fascinating reading. It’s a debut novel for the author, and what a story. Halina, an Australian, with Polish roots, specializes in this obscure profession as a forensic dentist, and is asked to go to Poland, to help identify bone (and tooth) fragments, to put to rest a sad event in the story of this small town, when many, many people (Jews) were murdered. Was it the Nazis? Or was it the local townspeople who disliked the Jews. What a tangled web of intrigue, including Halina’s own mysterious past. I really enjoyed the read. The author does a great job of developing the characters (which I always like). This is no light read if you consider the subject matter, although it IS a novel (but based on fact). Nor is it a spy thriller – it’s more just an historical novel with lots of interesting people throughout. There’s a romance thrown in too, and a whole lot of angst about the discoveries found in the mass grave. But, the subject expanded my knowledge about forensics.

Recently finished reading The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. I just LOVED this book. I’ve never been much of a fan of Caravaggio’s paintings, although I’ve seen plenty of them (many are extremely large) in museums around the world. His paintings were dark, often with dark subjects. But as with many of the old masters, occasionally some obscure work surfaces, perhaps credited to another artist, even, that turns out to be one done by “the” master. In this case, Caravaggio. Although this book is written as a novel (with dialogue, etc.) it’s historical through and through. It begins with two young women art scholars, in Italy, who are asked to do a research project. One thing leads to another, and to another. All true.  If you enjoy books about art – I learned some things about the paint and the canvases of the time – you’ll be intrigued as I was.

Also just read Eye On the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press, by James, McGrath Morris. Each year my AAUW book club reads something related to Black History Month. This is a biography of a woman you’ve probably never heard of, Ethel Payne, and about her life-long journey in journalism, struggling to keep her head above water financially, but staying true to her purposes of telling the truth about the black stories and black racism of the day. Sometimes biographies aren’t all that riveting, but I found this one to be so, and I savored each new chapter. We had a really good discussion of the book, and the ups and downs of Payne’s life, especially during her years as a Washington reporter. You’ll not be sorry to have spent the time reading this book. It’s well-written, as well. I was thrilled when the author, Morris, left a message here on my blog, thanking me (and my group) for reading his book.

Also read H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald. This one has been on the best seller list. It’s a memoir about a woman who takes on a personal challenge of taming a wild hawk. Prior to reading this book, I knew next to nothing about the entire subject of hawking, or taming any of the big, wild birds. The book is equally about the writer’s inner journey. She’s a consummate writer, and every page was a joy of words, for me. My only problem is my own – I found it hard, the more time that went by, and the more time the writer spent trying to tame this bird, to scream out “let the bird go.” Perhaps it’s because I spent time in Africa in 2015, seeing animals in the wild, that I felt more for the bird than I did with the writer’s discontent with herself and the taming process. Little did I know what a hard job it is to tame a hawk. I actually didn’t finish the book. It was a book club read, and highly recommended by several of our members. And I ended up not being able to attend the meeting as I had a cold. So perhaps there is some great ending to it that would have made me feel better. I haven’t gone to the end to find out. I just had to stop reading it. But I’m not NOT recommending it. If nothing else, read it for Macdonald’s sublime proficiency with words.

Also read George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution, by Brian Kilmeade and Dan Yaeger. Here’s what it says on amazon: When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. I won’t exactly call this book a riveting read, but it was interesting. Relating facts that few people knew about, this Culper Spy Ring. It’s a little chunk of American history researched in depth by the authors. An interesting read.

Also read The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina George. If you’re an avid reader, you probably have the same kind of longing as I do for a quaint, independently owned bookstore right around the corner. So few exist anymore. This novel is about a very unusual book store, and book store owner. In Paris. On a boat/barge. It’s not a typical book store, and the writer takes you on a journey of discovery about (likely) her own lifetime of book reading. You’ll learn all about a variety of existing books and why they’re a good read. But it’s all cloaked in a story about this book store and the owner. And the customers. Very fun. I’m reviewing it for one of my book clubs next month.

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

Scroll down to the bottom to view my Blogroll

Posted in Cookies, Desserts, on April 29th, 2011.

choc_chunk_brownies2

The other day I was thinking about chocolate. Of late, I haven’t had much chocolate except in an occasional cookie. And what I was craving was a brownie. Then I recalled this recipe, one that was originally published in Chocolatier magazine a very long time ago. A magazine that is no longer, unfortunately. I never subscribed, but occasionally bought an issue. I did a search on the internet just in case it still existed, but could find nothing concrete.

choc_chunk_brownies_singleDon’t you just want to reach right into the screen and grab that piece? Way back in about 1989 Chocolatier published an article about the best of the best brownies. We’d been to the home of some business associates of my DH, and the wife, Karen, served these incredible brownies to us, with some good vanilla ice cream. I was smitten with them. Karen kindly snail-mailed me a photocopy of the recipe a week or so later (email didn’t exist back then), and over the years I’ve made these a few times. I’ve just never blogged about them before, so that means I haven’t made them in over 4 years!

choc_chunk_in_panYou do need both semisweet and dark chocolate to make these. Other than that – and some corn syrup, walnuts and a few eggs, the other ingredients are regular staples in most kitchens. What makes them different? I have no idea, except the combo of the dark and medium chocolate seems in just the right proportion. They’re not overly sweet, which is something that’s important to me. I’m not so much a candy-type person – except for very small pieces, even fudge is too sweet for my taste buds. But these are rich with chocolate, no question about that.

It’s best, really, if you bake these the day before you need them, as they’re more easily cut into bars or squares after they’ve set overnight on your kitchen counter. They like to have a rest (and firm up just a bit) before you easily remove the entire pan full using the foil sling (see photo) and set a knife into them. They keep (closed up in an airtight container) at room temp for about 5 days. Otherwise, freeze them if you think the recipe makes too much for you to eat in that time period. I do love these brownies. Here on my blog I do have another brownie – called Classic Brownies – The Best Ever. And my Heavenly Cream Cheese Brownies too. Oh, I do love those as well. Sigh. I just love chocolate! Anyway, the Classic Brownies are one of my favorites, but they’re quite plain. These, on the other hand, contain nuts and chocolate chunks. There’s a place in my repertoire for both!

printer-friendly PDF

Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Recipe: From “Chocolatier,” 9/1989
Serving Size: 24

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder — double acting
1/8 teaspoon salt
14 ounces semisweet chocolate — finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar — (I scant the cup by about 2 T.)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
9 tablespoons unsalted butter — cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs — chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups walnuts — coarsely chopped
9 ounces dark chocolate — chopped in 1/4″ chunks

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325. Line a 9×13 baking pan with a double thickness of foil so the foil extends 2 inches beyond the 2 shorter ends of the pan. Fold overhang down along the sides of the pan. Butter the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Place the semisweet chocolate in a large bowl.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the butter melts. the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour hot syrup over the chocolate. Let mixture stand for 1-2 minutes, to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
4. One at a time, whisk in the eggs, blending until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and the flour mixture, mixing until the batter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 1 cup of the walnuts and 6 ounces of the dark chocolate chunks.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and 3 ounces of chocolate chunks over the top of the batter. Bake the brownies for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
6. Invert the brownies onto a large plate or cutting board. Remove the pan and carefully peel off the foil. Invert again onto a smooth cutting surface and cut into 24 bars. Cool the brownies in the pan and set on a wire rack. When the brownies are completely cool, cover the pan of brownies with plastic wrap and let them set at room temperature for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Will keep in a covered container for about 5 days.
Per Serving: 295 Calories; 18g Fat (49.8% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 38mg Cholesterol; 43mg Sodium.

A year ago: Chocolate Chip Cookies – Silver Moon Bakery (a real favorite)
Two years ago: Cornflake Crusted Halibut with Aioli Sauce
Three  years ago: Shrimp Bacon Veggie Chowder

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Get Recipes by Email, Free!

  1. Priscilla Davis

    said on January 22nd, 2016:

    So glad you posted this recipe! I have a battered and falling apart copy of the original 1989 Chocolatier magazine buried somewhere in a box (waiting for me to find a way to preserve it somehow), and when I couldn’t put my hands on it quickly I thought, “Why not check online…?” I haven’t made these brownies for years but remember them vividly. Perfect dessert for this weekend. Thank you!

    You’re so very welcome. Isn’t the internet just wonderful?? I’m amazed what I can find online nowdays! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. . . carolyn t

Leave Your Comment