My new manicure has been compromised.
My fingertips are burned and sore.
And I'm tired.
What have I been doing? I'll give you three guesses. Have I been...
a) teaching my preschoolers Fun With Bonfires and then rescuing the tiny tots from fiery skirmishes?
b) polishing my silver tea set for Meghan and Harry's wedding with an essential oil that the hippie mama from Arkansas assured me was all natural, but turned out to be quite toxic to my skin? (but, wow - my teapot is so shiny!)
or c) baking brownies with Younger for Teacher Appreciation Day?
C, Gentle Readers, the correct answer is C.
The email went out the previous week. Would we parents like to show our gratitude for these teachers who have wrangled our juvenile yahoos for an entire year with either a salad on Tuesday or a dessert on Wednesday? I looked at the sign-up for both days.
Please bring a bag of washed lettuce.
Or, sliced radishes.
Gah, where's the soul in lettuce? Can I really communicate how much I think of these men and women who do so much for so little with a cucumber? I think not!
But dessert, a luscious layered bar treat, or a giant chewy cookie - feel the love in every bite! Yes! Here I am, Lord! I hear your call. I will go, Sign-Up Genius, if you lead me!
You see how all this was going so swimmingly.
You should know that I have a thing about brownies. I want to make the BestMostWonderfulBrowniesEver. And I have some really good recipes. In fact, I'm going to share with you one of my most crowning Mom moments: when Older was 4th grade, DIY Maven Ann was in charge of his class's End of Year Party, so she went up to the school to ask the kids what they wanted to include in the party and called me later to say, "The kids voted for Older's Mom's brownies." I sailed on that cloud for a week.
Now you may be reasonably asking, "Why not make 4th grade brownies?"
Well, because I bought this super fun sounding cookbook called Extreme Brownies, and I thought Younger would enjoy thumbing through it, picking out his favorite, and then we could make it together. So, I pick him up from School Club Meeting at 5:00, and off we go to grocery store. Did I read the recipe as I wandered the aisles of the supermarket? No, I did not because brownie recipes are basically the same, right? Wrong. When Connie Weis described her brownie recipes as EXTREME, she was not resorting to mere hyperbole to sell her book. As Younger read to me later from her cookbook, "These recipes are not difficult, they just take a while."
Younger chose a recipe called S'mores Galore. Which involves three layers: the graham cracker layer, the brownie layer and the marshmallow layer. We were instructed to let the graham cracker dough refrigerate for an hour. Twice. And then I read the words that always send me into a panic: "Using a Candy Thermometer..." Maybe I'm a ninny, but boiling sugar makes me nervous. What if I take my eyes off the thermometer for a second, and suddenly the mixture leaps from softball to hardball? What if I never take my eyes off the thermometer, and the mixture leaps out of the pot onto me?
I ended up making the marshmallow layer twice because I messed it up the first time. And when Younger smoothed that final layer of white, sticky deliciousness onto the brownie layer, it was 10:00 at night. We had started at 6:00. 4 Hours! I'm changing the name to S'more Galore by Hour Four.
So, the real question here is How Do the Brownies Taste?
That first layer of brownie is so yummola I'm thinking that I'm going to make cookies out of it. And when I open a jar of Marshmallow Creme and spoon it out of the jar, I will remind myself that I could make this homemade. If I wanted to.
The moral of this story is:
a) Read the recipe!!!!! Like, first thing!
and b) Extreme Brownies are a fun weekend project, not a Tuesday night item to check on the To-Do List.
Now I have consulted with BustleandVim's attorney, and have been advised that I cannot publish the recipe for the 4 Hour Brownies here due to copyright, infringement, and some other reasons, so I included a link to buy Connie Weis's book here and above.
And I will share with you the recipe for 4th Grade Brownie Wonders! which are absolutely delightful and tasty.