I’m a sucker for a good book title. Brave Tart, by Stella Parks got me, and it made me laugh, so I picked it up in the bookstore and started flipping through it. And immediately recognized the genius. Her baking instructions are so profoundly precise and sharp that it seemed feasible for me to try to bake Oreos at home.
I purchased the book at least a year ago, and haven’t managed to bake anything from it yet. However, I have read it from cover to cover, made plans, and then completely failed to execute them.
Georgia asked if she could make brownies for me for Mother’s Day, and went straight for Bravetart when she perused our cookbook collection. After her last cooking adventure with baked Alaska, she learned to read the recipe all the way through BEFORE starting, so we sat outside and went through it together. Shortly thereafter, Lucinda and Francis got home from their mother’s place, and she was happy to join in and help out with the brownie making.
G and Luce did the majority of the work. I worked on the butter, and provided supervision and occasional advice/correction (i.e. reading them the recipe, because they started to go off track). The recipe was so clear and precise, that it seemed almost impossible to screw it up.
Probably the most difficult part of the process was dealing with the butter, which needed to be simmered and stirred, scraping up the chunky bits, until it was “golden” and “silent.” We all had a good chuckle over the “silent” thing, and made many jokes, my favorite of which was “I like my men like I like my butter: Clarified and Silent.”
Sure enough, the butter got silent when it was done. Who knew? Stella Parks, apparently.
Lucinda stirred the chocolate chips into the butter, until they melted.
Meanwhile, Georgia used the stand mixer to make a “floofy” (our word, not Parks’) sugar and egg mixture.
The chocolate butter got mixed in with the eggs and sugar, and then we added the flour and cocoa mixture that G started with.
The final. DAMN these are good. The Platonic ideal of brownies. I loved this recipe, because instead of some vague instruction about how to tell if it was done, Parks wrote “until it’s at 205 degrees F.” YES. They are perfect.
Amazingly enough, we managed to get through the entirety of the recipe without conflict. It was a Mother’s Day miracle.