It has been freezing outside and the sun has been been a pale incarnation of itself ever since the snow storm swept through my part of the country. It started innocuously, with no hint the evening before of what was to come. Surely the manager at our condominium had sent out an e-mail warning us of a state of emergency declared by the governor. But you know what, in all my inexperience of East Coast weather warnings, I declared it bull. In the recent past, I have stayed back home with news of impending storms. Weather advisories showing up on the phone as orange beacons of alarm. Too frequently. But outside, it used to be just fine. I would just end up missing out on my regular runs. The coin dropped and those warnings tempted derision.
It was your regular miserable day when I woke up, and early on, nothing showed up except for tiny flakes of snow which wafted into the tar of the road outside. It did not stick. It shall stop soon, I figured. But those tiny flakes mushroomed into big flakes, the size of cornflakes, and by noon you could see them slowly coating the pavement, painting the park grounds and the road a stark white. The trees too had icing building up upon their boughs. That is how it turned into a squall of sorts, gusts of wind driving it horizontally. Now the important thing during such storms is that you be inside. Watch it from the comfort of your warm interiors. Bless these modern-day trappings, for how often I yearn for the old. This, I would not give up. Then a snow storm does start looking like a living fairy tale. As if you were caught in a giant snow globe, and someone was turning it upside down to churn snow. Fat puffs of it. Oh it had a magical quality to it, the snow. I suspect that had power been lost, that feeling would have been turned on its head. I will take this feeling though my jars of picked red chilli peppers are crying out for the sun.
So maybe it is the weather, or maybe it is this cake-deprived feeling lodged deep inside me, that yesterday I caved in. I wanted something decadent, okay? Something rich to make my senses whoosh with delight. No substitutes for anything therefore. Plain flour, butter, eggs, brown sugar, milk, a blood orange pureed and its fragrant zest. Then plenty of cocoa powder and an Icelandic chocolate bar broken up in chunks, so that they melted inside the brownie batter in perfect little pockets of oozing goodness.
- 3/4 cup softened butter
- 1 cup blood orange (I juiced it and retained the pulp, then heated it to reduce it to half a cup)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Nescafe
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- The zest of the blood orange
- 1-1/2 cups of dark chocolate chunks
I whisked them in the order mentioned and popped them into the oven (at 177°C) for 40 minutes.
And when I let it cool for a while, but not long enough because I wanted the warmth of it, it turned up with a crisp crust. The brown sugar had caramelised its fudgy insides. A bite, hmm, and oozing blobs of dark chocolate enveloped me with lavish love, whispering, ‘come child, give in now’, and the bite of that blood orange zest, intense. Three big pieces and I had a halo around my head.