Michael and I just finished a five-day stint of avoiding sugar, wheat, dairy, and alcohol. Ask me if I feel better. C’mon, ask me. Well, I found I was actually less drowsy at work, though ravenously hungry all the time. I’d just finish my massive vice-free lunch and my stomach would growl.
“Shut up! I just fed you.”
The other downside to our dietary restrictions was the temple-pounding sugar-withdrawal headaches; these convinced me that I normally subsist mostly on sugar. Ugh. Luckily, they subsided as the days slowly, laboriously, wore on. I know other people do this kind of thing for much longer periods of time, or, gulp, forever, but we were thrilled to return to our old ways after the five days ended.
We shared a couple of morally superior chest bumps to celebrate our success, then promptly tucked into the kind of dinner that got us into trouble in the first place. We ate cheese fondue (with bread, of course, and veggies), washed it down with beer for him and sparkling wine for me, and ended with brownies. The only difference we felt was that we couldn’t eat as many brownies before our bellies seemed totally full. That’s not a bad result, though I don’t expect it to last long.
For our break from the crappy-food-fast, I baked my favorite brownies. These chocolatey squares are what I thought about constantly when I couldn’t have sweets. I love them. I love them more than any fancy dessert. In my book, they’re perfect. They are decidedly fudgey brownies: thick and dense and not the least bit cakey. I add chocolate chips because they can only help, plus they’ve got that shiny, papery-thin top crust. I may need to go down to the kitchen and gobble down one more after typing these words.
My Favorite Brownies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens–I’ve memorized the page number in my cookbook)
Yield: 16 brownies
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose, but why?)
1 cup chocolate chips (use your favorite variety)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9″ square baking dish.
Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes (this is to prevent cooking your eggs when you add them). Stir in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in the flour, just until incorporated. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir just enough to distribute them.
Scrape the batter into your prepared baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes until the top is completely set (or a little longer… I tend to like mine slightly underbaked). Cool the brownies in the baking dish on a wire rack, then cut into 16 squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container.