One of the reasons why I dig walnut chunks out of any brownie I eat is because, having been baked and left to stew within it, the nut has typically reached an inevitable state of sogginess. Thus, in the making of my own brownies, I made it a point to candy the pecans (a far superior nut to the walnut in my tasting) to ensure a good crunch.
brownie recipe I
used is identical to that found in Leite's Culinaria, save the addition of the candied nuts, and a slight tweaking
of the proportions to make one 30cm by 30cm tray. You can see very
clearly the effect of a few good minute's stirring on the batter (I have
included a photo before and after).
played a little with the
amount of sugar used in the candying as I didn't want a jaw breaking
sugar crust, but had to bear in mind that some of the sugar would
dissolve during the baking. A ratio of 2:3 by weight of sugar to pecans
was what I was happy with. I'm no master at candying nuts but David Lebovitz has written up a rather handy guide. Simply caramelizing the
sugar and pouring it over hot nuts does not work. Use as many pecans as
your generosity allows.
a completely separate note, and one I feel I have to raise as you
scrutinize my many photos of the brownie concoction process, I have a
pointy bone to pick with queue etiquette.
Queue jostling is a recurring cause of grief in my life. I claim an
expansive personal space and am ever too aware of encroaching subjects.
In large crowds, or where there is limited space available, I have no
choice but to accept that people are doomed to brush by me. However, to
have my space intruded upon by a great hulking brute exuding sweat, a
real problem in the summer, while standing in a queue seems absolutely
unnecessary when space abounds.
Fortunately I have a few remedies to deal with this.
Shopping bags serve as great little barricades. Or, if I have a handy
rucksack with me, every now and then I would suddenly spin around, as if
something had caught my eye, allowing my bag to clear an acceptable
berth. Yawning and stretching is a pretty good tactic too, especially if
you 'unconsciously' direct your outstretched arms towards a face. Or
just direct their attention to bits of your person (elbows perhaps) that
is especially close to them (like a boxer does with his jabbing hand)
and the offenders tend to leave a little more room.
Nevertheless it still begets the question why some people insist on standing right up close behind me in a
queue? Surely they can not think that if they are standing closer to the
front of the queue the waiting time is less even if the number of
people before them stays the same. Or do they think that nudging themselves along
as tight as sardines would somehow make the queue move along faster? It
all seems pointless to me. As a polite person in a queue, there is
little you can do to be served sooner.
There is the
space argument of course, and truly in some queues, squeezing together
is required for throughway to be maintained. However, a case in point
would be while I queuing to check-in on my way back from France
recently. The hall was vast yet the individual behind me insisted on
shuffling himself and his luggage so close behind me, in complete
disregard for the marked line behind which he should have stood, that he
bopped me with his skis and I could feel my baby hairs ruffling under
Move back smelly man! And yes, I am one of
those people who heartily approve of glaring bright yellow lines marking
out the boundaries of a queue. But really, sidling so close to the fellow ahead all seems so pushy and in the end to no
effect, so why do it?
This blog will be moving to a new, more appropriately named, domain soon: www.feeding-times.com.
Updates soon to come!