Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

The Perfect Brownie


You know what I should be doing right now instead of writing this post about brownies?  Working on our Kindergarten homeschool curriculum.  I’m using Rebecca Rupp’s “Home Learning Year by Year” as my guide.  I know, I’ve been all over the map when it comes to educating my children.  Unschooling, unit studies, classical education, Waldorf, various curriculum in a box sorts of things.  You name it, I’ve probably considered it all.  My most recent consideration – Waldorf?  I’ve decided that while I like the idea of it the whole process of memorizing fairy tales seems like more than I can handle right now.  I’m thinking we’ll probably end up more eclectic in nature.  So, while we won’t be staying true to the Waldorf way of doing things (as evidenced by the fact that we’ll be learning our letters and working on beginning handwriting tasks this next year and J will be 5 1/2 when we get started) it will certainly shape to a certain degree what we do.

I’ve found it a bit difficult to focus with all the little people running around torn as I am with the fact that I should be spending time with them before they grow up and move out of our house.  I had grand plans while sitting down at the computer.  I sent my husband away with the older two and kept the baby at home with me.  Big mistake.  After a shower, breakfast, and the laundry I tried to get started.  Oops!  Desk is messy.  Pick up clutter from desk and move it to bed.  Piles from one place made into piles somewhere else.  Now the desk is dusty.  Search for the mini duster that I got for J for his birthday (I borrow it all the time…I really should get my own) which takes awhile.  I find it under his bed and proceed to dust the desk.

Time to wake up the mini and connect the cable modem since some of it will require using the internet while I debate the various merits of different pieces of  curriculum.  To workbook or not to workbook?  Handwriting Without Tears or Zaner-Bloser or CursiveFirst?  Math curriculum necessary or pointless?  What nifty little manipulatives would be fun to have?  Can I source all of our books from the library or will I have to purchase some?  Create a list of things to purchase and prioritize it.  Finish our personalized overview since we won’t be tackling everything Rupp lists for Kindergarten (some we’ll delay until First Grade) and then get started on the nitty gritty.  Debate the merits of planning the entire year all out at once or just focusing on the first month.  Or maybe I should plan all the way out to our big break in December?  So many things to do, but first….

Oooo!  I have a comment on my blog (this is what happens when you check your email first).  It’s not even lunch time and the number of visits to my blog have inched ever closer to 50.  What’s going on?  Ah, link love from Adrienne Martini – I really did love that book.  Quickly regret not saying I liked her blog better.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not the content over at martinimade (www.martinimade.com), but the appearance.  The colors really get to me.  Completely my personal preference.  She’s certainly got something going for her given that she’s within the “I’m published crowd.”  Me?  I’m lucky to get five hits a day.  Take time to respond to comments.

Now the baby is trying to chew on the computer cables and other miscellaneous power cables at my feet.  I remember that they contain lead and distract baby.  Nurse baby, hold baby, entertain baby.  Begin post on brownies for tomorrow (er, today when you’ll read it) and get lost in other details. What was I writing about?  Oh, yes, brownies.

Not just any brownie, goat cheese brownies.  Of course, you wouldn’t know that by looking at my pictures.  They look like your average cheesecake brownie.  I’m sure you’ve already written them off as “been there, done that.”  Maybe you’d react in much the same way my Mom did when I brought them over to their house on Memorial Day.  They were one half of our dessert.  The other half was homemade ice cream and we had just finished it up.  I had cut rather large portions of brownie as I usually do – double the size of the one in the picture.  I can’t help it.  Anything less than that and I begin to worry that I look stingy.  The discussion goes something like this:

My Mom scoops up her ice cream and then looks at the brownies on the plate, “These are rather large.  Did you want to split one,” she asks my Dad while simultaneously taking a bite.

“Su-,” he replies.

Mom cuts him off with the rapturous response of someone who after not having eaten for days is presented with food.  “Nevermind,” she says.

I’m sure at this point you’re asking, “Goat cheese?  Brownie?”  I can’t say as I blame you.  I thought the same thing when I saw the brownie episode of “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.”  My first reaction (eww) is quickly replaced with intrigue.  It’s well after midnight.  Hubby and I have stayed up way too late watching TV together on his day off (One of the few semi-child free moments I get.  Baby M’s sleeping on my lap hence the semi-child free part.).  I *have* to finish watching it.  “You could DVR it, you know,” my husband reminds me while yawning.  I’m glad I took his advice and my children should thank their father for that reminder as well.

The episode is about the Vermont Brownie Company‘s Dark Chocolate Chevre brownie.  The gist of the recipe is very similar to a cheesecake brownie made with cream cheese, but with goat cheese instead. The Vermont Brownie Company’s looks better than mine (and I’m sure it tastes better too).  Still, this one was pretty fantastic.

Want a recipe?  Hmmm….don’t really have one.  See, I stink at making brownies from scratch.  Seriously, I do.  I’ve tried a number of different recipes and while my family has been more than willing to eat my failures, I’m not happy with the results.  In the end I gave up on making brownies from scratch.  Instead I buy a box of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix at the store.  It has ingredients I can pronounce and it works every time.  The only change I make is to substitute the vegetable oil that the recipe calls for with butter.  Why?  Aside from olive oil I don’t own any vegetable oil and I’m not going to buy any for the rare occasion that I make brownies.

Buy some chevre (the soft goat cheese) – I bought mine at the Farmer’s Market, but you can buy yours at the store.  Stop for a moment with mouth hanging open at how expensive this dessert is going to be.  You’ll briefly contemplate buying 8oz instead of 4z, but if you’re anything like me you’ll change your mind.  I’m most decidedly not made of money.  When you get home, Google recipe for cheesecake brownies and get the basic gist.  Cream cheese plus egg(s) plus vanilla plus sugar.  Translate to goat cheese plus 1 egg plus 1/4 cup sugar(I think you could actually leave this out, but then again I don’t like my desserts too sweet.) plus 1t vanilla.  Make brownies according to package directions.  Mix up goat cheese combo.

At this point you’ll pour the brownie mix into the pan while remembering to reserve a portion.  I didn’t reserve a portion so the swirly-ness on top is my attempt at making the whole thing look more attractive.  It will be easier to do so if you reserve a portion to put on top.  Goat cheese mixture next and then the remaining brownie mix.  Swirling is optional at this point.  Bake according to package directions.  Remember to let the brownies COOL COMPLETELY.  They’re a mess to cut otherwise.

If you’re anything like me you might consider getting out a spoon.  You can scoop out a small taste from the corner of the pan.  If you cut the brownies up and put them on the plate no one will be the wiser.  Hmmm…except my husband.  He’ll without fail point out how there’s a “mouse” in the house.  I’ll be quick to point out that my Grandmother had the same mouse at her house and we’ve never been able to track down that mouse.  I guess it must be the same one.  Shrug very seriously and try not to laugh.  It doesn’t matter anyway.  These brownies are GOOD.

Of course, at that point you’ll need to make a mental note to order the actual Dark Chocolate Chevre brownies from the Vermont Brownie Company.  You know…for comparison.