Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Having finally completed our most recent move, we expect to be here for a while.  We have unpacked all of our boxes, and just yesterday finally left the last few in the recycle bin of our new building.  I felt a little strange giving up those boxes.  After having them around for so long, it was like losing a security blanket. not a box in the house.  Like adults, we have arranged cupboards and cabinets, and organized our few closets to fit all of our things.  Even if I might have a few bags of winter clothes stored in the cabinet above the oven, and some linens in a chest in the living room, we are unpacked.  

The best part of unpacking was finally awakening all of my baking tools from their half-year slumber (because settling here in Abu Dhabi has taken longer than expected).  Usually when we move to a new place, B spends hours packing and organizing his clothing in the perfect manner so that he can always get to exactly what he wants and needs in the interim time that we are waiting for our entire shipment to arrive.  I do the same, but only with my cooking tools.  

As I learn which ingredients are available here, I have also remade some of my favorite ingredients that I usually like to keep well-stocked in my kitchen. A super simple one is vanilla sugar, made just by sticking a fresh vanilla bean into my jar of sugar and letting it sit until I want to use it.  

 Walnuts are one ingredient that is hard to find here.  They are mostly all imported from the USA and fairly expensive (like everything else).  I found these really nice ones in the bulk-food bins at our local hypermarket.

As I warmed up the oven and washed my whisks and bowls, B was already placing his order. " I would really love some brownies!  With walnuts....if you feel like making them."  He knows that I cannot hear a suggestion for a dessert, and not at least start to think about making it.  Since brownies are fairly simple and since it has been ages since I have made them, it was a done deal.  I pulled out my Alice Medrich cookbook and took the butter out of the fridge.

The truth was I was thrilled to be baking again.

As the brownies cooked I was trying to put the final touches on our newly organized place, moving the lamps from table to table, hiding some cords behind a painting, but all I could really think about was the buttery cocoa smell coming from my oven.

I let them cool the required 30 minutes to avoid burning my tongue, and then quickly tasted/devoured a few small(ish) pieces, just to make sure they were edible. 
 Not to worry! Alice knows what she is doing. 
Finally some homemade sweets back in the "home". 


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