If there’s one complaint I’ve had with “My Father’s Daughter” this whole time (haha: “one complaint”), it is that most of the recipes are too basic and intuitive to even fully count as recipes (or at least recipes from a $30 cookbook). Pizza = dough, tomato sauce, toppings. Salad = lettuce, dressing. Burgers = cheese, meat, bun. Simplicity, however, is not the issue with Fudgy Chocolate Brownies. Not at all. You see, these brownies are insane.
You start by mixing flour, “high-quality cocoa powder” (I bought an obscure brand in an old-timey container that looked like it belonged in a general store on the Oregon Trail, and now I have more cocoa powder than I’ll ever use in my lifetime), baking powder, and salt. Pretty basic beginning! Although this is already more work than just using a boxed mix, and I fail to see how it’s any healthier.
And this is where it gets insane. In a separate bowl, you mix vegetable oil, REAL Vermont maple syrup (over $10 for 8 ounces), agave nectar, soy milk, vanilla extract, and brewed coffee. Uhhhhhh. Wait, what? What is this nonsense recipe? Is this a recipe for brownies or the insane ramblings of an escaped mental patient? First of all, I never drink coffee, so I barely even know how to brew the stuff. I just kind of put some grounds in the thing, and then water in the other thing, and pressed a couple buttons, and brown water came out so I think I did it right? It smelled like coffee, at least. This recipe was already requiring far, far, FAR too much time, effort, and money for goddamned brownies.
Mixing some weird sludge!
So then you mix the wet stuff in with the dry stuff, “being careful not to overbeat (that’s how you end up with tough cake!).” Wait, are we making cake or brownies? TRICK QUESTION! The answer is we are actually making chocolate soup. The resultant “batter” was absurdly fluid, like, somehow more watery than water. Now, I know brownie batter, and this monstrosity is no brownie batter. So I threw the recipe out the window and just started dumping flour and cocoa powder in until it reached a reasonable consistency. Isn’t everyone always saying that baking is all about chemistry and measuring? Let’s just say I’m really glad Gwyneth went into acting instead of working in a lab. We’d all have smallpox.
Once the batter is brought up to a more-normal viscosity, you pour half the bowl into a greased-up brownie pan, and cover with scattered chocolate chips (Gwyneth insists on “high-quality” chips and ideally the grain-sweetened variety, whatever that means, but I went with Nestle because some demands are just too ridiculous to even consider). Pour the rest of the batter on top, and scatter with some more chocolate chips. Bake for 30 minutes. Or, rather, bake for 25 minutes, at which point it’s already too dry to fully enjoy.
These are brownies.
So, this recipe was clearly a disaster. Not only was it ridiculously over-complicated and far, far too expensive, but these actually tasted worse than your typical boxed variety of brownies. Granted, I may have some bias due to my absolute loathing of coffee (and I did think the coffee lent the brownies a distinctive dirt flavoring), but my roommate loves coffee and the brownies have not been touched by either of us in four days. If you’re feeding your kids chocolatey brownies, don’t try to trick yourself into making a “healthier” version like this. If you want healthy, give them some carrots. If you want brownies, just buy a box and save yourself the trouble. Good grief.