The Best Brownies of Your Life

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Here they are, the brownies I’ve always wanted and never found. I didn’t know my brownie life was lacking; for years, I’d been melting chocolate in a double boiler along with some butter to make the Martha Stewart version. Those were always good. So were all the other brownie recipes I attempted with a similar technique: melt chocolate and butter, stir in sugar, eggs, flour, and voila, brownies. The resulting brownies were always enjoyable–fudgy, flat–but never reminiscent of the brownies that made me love brownies in the first place. Until I came upon this recipe.

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Pizzeria Mozza’s Coconut Sorbet Pie

Despite the fact that I’ve been in New York for a week now, and that I’ve eaten many wonderful meals so far, the dish I can’t get out of my head is a dish I had in L.A. just before I left. True, I already mentioned it in my newsletter (subscribe here!) and true I’ve written enough about Pizzeria Mozza on this site already it may as well become a Mozza fan page. (It was, after all, my pick for #1 restaurant in L.A.) But this dessert! Let me tell you about this dessert…

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Until I get a cease and desist letter from Kim Boyce, whose book “Good To The Grain” inspired me to buy six different kinds of flours last week (that led to a spelt olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate), I’m going to keep blogging my experiences cooking from her book. The good news is that this particular recipe–a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies–has already had quite a life on the web. Molly blogged about it, as did Heidi (who made hers in a skillet!). And there’s a reason this recipe is so popular; Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies may sound wholesome, but the results are anything but.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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It was only after I’d started making this coffee cake, mixing the butter and sugar, that I realized this wasn’t a round 9-inch cake sort of deal; this was a 13 X 9-inch beast.

Yes, I know, you’re supposed to study a recipe carefully before proceeding; and yes, you’re supposed to butter the pan before you start (I tend to do it right before adding the batter). But the point is: I made a giant coffee cake. And the larger point is: it was so outrageously good, with a chocolate cinnamon swirl inside and pecans on top, that it was gone in a matter of days.

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Grilled Pineapple with Cardamom Whipped Cream

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After that salmon dinner, we were still hungry. Isn’t that funny how that works? You spend an hour making an elaborate French dinner (ok, I said it was easy, but it still took about an hour) and after you’re done eating it, you’re still hungry! But this proved to be a blessing, because it gave me an opportunity to improvise a dessert.

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Kings of Pastry

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My hands flew to my face several times last night.

It was 1:30 AM and I’d made a mistake. At midnight, exhausted after testing four recipes, I loaded up “Kings of Pastry” on AppleTV just to see if it was something I wanted to watch. To say that I was immediately hooked would be a profound understatement; I was so engrossed, that by 1:30 my heart was beating so fast and I was biting my nails so nervously, there was no way I’d ever get to sleep.

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Mississippi Mud Pie (From The Sky)

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s me, The Amateur Gourmet, blogging to you live from Delta flight 2243, en route to Atlanta, Georgia.

Yes, this is an absolute first for me, my first blog post written from a plane. And I choose, as my subject matter, a dessert that I made back in December, before it got wicked cold out. And it’s a cold dessert so you might be thinking: why would we eat something from the freezer when it’s 0 degrees on the thermometer? Patience, people, I have my reasons.

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Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

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So that dinner I made for my friend Alex’s birthday (the one with the soup) began a few days earlier when I e-mailed Alex a very important question: “Dear Alex,” I wrote, “what are your Top 5 favorite desserts of all time?”

Alex wrote back: “Hmmm…top five favorite desserts…I’ll do this w/o thinking too much: pecan pie, warm cake with cream cheese frosting, strawberry rhubarb pie, chocolate lava cake, lemon cake.” Seeing as she did this stream-of-consciousness style, I had to trust that the first dessert she named was truly her favorite. Which is why I ended up making what turned out to be (in my opinion at least) the greatest pecan pie ever.

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