A Brief Respite from Hermitism
February 5, 2009
Around this time of year—the dregs of the winter—Kevin and I are prone to hermitism. It’s a serious condition that affects those of us in the northern reaches of this country, confining us to our homes, leaving us yearning for turtleneck sweaters and hearty food. Sure, we leave the house for work, but happy hour? No thank you! Dinner down the block? Are you nuts? A walk around the neighborhood? Take a hike!
So, I was downright shocked to find us triple booked for the Super Bowl last Sunday. Triple! Booked! Frankly, I didn’t even think we had that many friends (or maybe I just didn’t remember them, given that we are weeks into the whole hermitism thing at this point and, I dare say, some of said friends have perhaps fallen prey to the syndrome too). In the end, we could only make it to two of the parties, which was about as much social interaction as us hermitism-afflicted souls could take. Hermitism side effects aside, two parties meant one thing: two treats.
When we bundled up to head to Party #1 last Sunday, we gathered up a big bowl of savory popcorn (in short: freshly popped corn, hot melted butter, lots of grated parmigiano reggiano, slivers of fresh rosemary and a heavy dose of cracked black pepper) and a tray of brownies.
Not just any brownies, though, because this was the Super Bowl after all. They were turtle brownies, which basically meant a cakey, moist, almost loamy layer of classic brownies blanketed with a sheet of walnut-studded caramel.
They’re kind of a spectacle, these brownies, matching the football game we watched as we ate them. Just like the Super Bowl amps up the normal NFL game (not exactly a toned down event to begin with), this recipe takes the unadorned brownie (rich and lovely in its own right) over the top with decadence.
With a few tweaks, I think they could be the perfect decadent dessert. I was a bit disappointed by the caramel (it was a little light, even though I let it bubble on the stove for five minutes longer than the recipe instructed, and it got a little grainy and it cracked when I cut it … but in the end it was still caramel, so I can’t complain too loudly) and might go for more of a salted caramel method—for a little depth to cut the sweetness—next time I make these (which might not be for a while, for the sake of my blood sugar level). I do plan to test out some modifications and I’ll keep you posted on my findings. In the meantime, though, you can find me on the couch, reading a riveting book, slurping from a mug of hot soup. You know, reverting to hermitism.