Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

January 11, 2012

"lighter" brownie pie.

Inspiration is a funny thing. It hits you when you least expect it, and when you are totally unprepared. But it gives you the motivation to do what you know you need to do.

It's even funnier in that it's difficult to describe. What exactly is inspiration? And how does it affect you? Interesting questions. But yet, you are aware when you are inspired. You realize just what you want to do,  and everything just seems to fall into place. It's a complex feeling that brings such clarity.

Each creature has a place in life. I have a friend who believes that maturity is the realization of one's place in the cycle of life. Regardless, each creature also has one thing to offer to the world - themselves. I just watched the most recent JennaMarbles video, and weird as it sounds, that, along with a couple of other things, happened close enough in proximity to inspire me. To do what? Not sure. But I definitely feel a heightened sense of responsibility, maturity, and direction.

It all hit me after I ate a piece of this brownie pie with some warm milk while chatting with my little brother.

Today was great. I bonded with my family, and had good food. Bonding + food are my sole prerequisites for a good day. After the rush of the day was over, and I ended up, as I usually do at night over breaks, in front of my laptop (someone today said Macs aren't laptops. and I once saw someone write labtop. noob.), I just felt .. drained. If that's the right word. I had no energy to respond enthusiastically to people's texts, I had no interest in being friendly on Facebook, I could've cared less if someone made a clever comment on Twitter.

I didn't care. Or I should say, I still don't care. But at the time (like 20 minutes ago), I felt like an outsider. Like everyone was socializing and sharing all these jokes and bonding, and here I was, at home, not giving a crap. And I didn't want to give a crap. I texted my best friend about how I felt.

I had been watching YouTube videos, like this painting video, which was beautiful and reminded me of the days when I took art in high school. Not lame art, okay, I mean real art. My teacher was crazy about everything about art and so skilled. In over 30 years of teaching, she's never given anyone a 100, and it is an honor to get a 99. I got a 99 twice in that class, and I'm not bragging, I'm just saying she brought out the best in people. She made me sincerely want to create artistic things and perfect everything. I'm a perfectionist at heart, anyway.

So I got to thinking about how I miss art. I watched another even more beautiful video of a speed painting. I got to thinking how I would legitimately take up art again. And then the "would" changed to "could." Why can't I take it up again? I have canvas in the recesses of my closet somewhere. I have paintbrushes I stole from art class. I have oil pastels I could use if I buy the proper medium.

My best friend responded. A seven text message as usual and every word of it was true. I didn't need to be comforted, I just needed to be reassured. About what, I'm not sure, but I definitely felt reassured after her texts. Right after I read what she'd written, I sat down to eat this brownie pie with my brother. I gave him a generous slice (get some meat on dem bones) with ice cream and warmed up a tiny bit of milk for myself. And we just talked. He's so curious about everything still (almost in high school) & whether it stems from actual curiosity or just having conversation, he's a good kid. He used to really annoy me, but we've both grown, I guess. Don't get me wrong, he'll always be the little brother I beat up, but I also live for moments like this. I realized I want more. All we did was eat and talk for a little bit, but it was just really nice.

I came back to my laptop (sorry, Mac) and just sat, realizing I was fine, and that I knew what I wanted to do. And it's totally possible for me to do it. Anything is possible. It's something I always say and think, but it really hit me today. Anything is possible! Literally anything. Realizing this will put you in the best, most satisfying mood. It all depends on you, and only you. If I want to paint, I have to get my stuff outta the closet and paint. If I want to be a doctor, then I gotta work hard, study hard, and do what I gotta do.

If I wanna eat brownie pie, I gotta make and eat brownie pie. And if you want some, you're gonna have to trust me when I say it's good, and make it yourself! I'm even giving you the recipe, and these tips, gosh, what more do you want.

Notes & Tips: 
  - This is pretty healthy, for a dessert.
  - If you're not confident in your egg separating skills (separating yolk & white, that is) then separate each egg in a little bowl before adding to the big mixer bowl. You don't want any yolk in your egg whites! I almost killed my whites (well it can be easily fixed but I'm being dramatic) when on the fourth egg, the dumb yolk exploded. Thankfully, I work well under pressure.
  - Use Greek yogurt, or make your own by straining regular yogurt. Put it to strain at the beginning of the day and it should be good by the end of the day. You won't taste the tanginess of the yogurt after the brownie is baked.
  - Texture? The top is wonderfully crisp. Gorgeous crust from the egg whites. Adding chocolate chips whole was a good idea. And depending on what pan you bake it in, this will be satisfyingly thick. It's not dense and I wouldn't call it fudgy, but I don't necessarily think it's cakey, either. I hate cakey brownies. They should just be frosted & called cake then, not brownies.
  - Eat this with either ice cream or milk. It's fluffy, which is good, but it kind of sticks to your throat if you eat it too fast, especially alone. And I'm gonna venture to say you'll eat it fast, cause it smells and looks and tastes amazing. A pleasure for all your senses, lookie that.
  - Lastly, chill it! At least a little. And then heat up again (if desired) after you slice it. But definitely chill to about room temp before attempting to slice.

This side view captures the brownie well. 

Brownie Pie
adjusted from here
  • 4 Tb butter (I used 3 Tb butter + 1 Tb oil) 
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 
  • 2 Tb Nutella 
  • 6 ounces greek yogurt 
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract 
  • 4 large egg whites 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (can also use all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tspn baking powder 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 325 degrees F at convection setting. 
  2. Mix the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, until all clumps are gone. Sift it, if you want. It's not necessary though. 
  3. Melt butter and chocolate together. Mix till smooth. Add Nutella (and oil, if using) at this point, and mix in thoroughly. 
  4. Whip egg whites and vanilla with a mixer or a KitchenAid stand mixer until quite foamy. 
  5. Start gradually adding sugar while the mixer is on. The egg whites should become thicker. You want soft peaks after the sugar is all added. It should take 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Fold chocolate mixture into the egg whites. 
  7. Then fold yogurt into the egg whites. 
  8. Fold in the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture. 
  9. Fold in chocolate chips. 
  10. Smooth out into a greased round pie pan or cake pan. Pan must be at least 2 inches deep. The batter will rise as it bakes, and you don't want spillage. 
  11. Bake about 35 - 45 minutes. It will feel set in the middle if gently tapped, and it shouldn't jiggle. Don't overbake! 
  12. Remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature before slicing. Enjoy with ice cream or milk. 

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