I'm back and it feels really, really good. The past few weeks have been such a flurry of activity that I forgot how important it is to stop, slow down, and get out the mixing bowl and wooden spoon - a variation of stop and smell the roses, if you will. Getting married can make you feel a lot of things - excited, nervous and, in my case, hungry.
Unfortunately, all the wedding hullabaloo made it near impossible to spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen, really just a few minutes here and there for a slice of wheat bread smeared with peanut butter or a pomegranate popsicle on my way out the door. I spent a few weeks in between houses, shifting from my parents to my shared home with Justin, thus creating a split kitchen as I tried to make dinner come together at both places on any given night. It's a frustrating thing to open the drawer for your favorite knife only to find its familiar slot amongst the forks and spoons empty. That's why I don't have the recipe ready for these grasshopper brownies ready for you just yet - the cookbook has gone missing in the shuffle of moving and I don't want to bamboozle you by trying to remember it off the top of my newlywed-head. But I promise I will post it soon.
In the meantime, have a look at my new favorite part of the house: the cookbook nook. It's my favorite not only because it's one of the few places of the house that isn't stricken with plumbing problems, but because it's all mine. As it turns out, there is a lot of sharing in marriage - the shower, the sheets, the chores, the toothpaste. But this nook? This is not for sharing. There are no screwdrivers or scraps of sandpaper, no shotgun shells or animal pelts tucked into the corners of the shelves - only page after page of delicious, buttery, belly-filling goodness. And it makes me happy.
In the past eleven whole days of marriage, I've collected a grab-bag of thoughts that I ponder throughout the night as I struggle to sleep in my still unfamiliar new room. Like - will Justin continue to bring me every single bobby pin he finds on the floor, the pillowcases, or the counters? Once totaled, that could be years of his life spent bringing me loose bobby pins. I knew he was a sleepwalker (and sleep shouter), but how could I have known he'd be muttering police codes in his dreams? The muffled 10-4, 10-86, 10-8 (codes not actual) makes me wish his brain would take off the bullet-proof vest from time to time. Obviously, there is some serious spiritual introspection going on here.
I haven't done much baking the past few weeks as evidenced by the home-owning trauma going on at our house, but I did volunteer to whip up all the desserts for our rehearsal dinner. I got a lot of crazy looks, that raised eyebrow that says, "Oh honey, you want to do all that? You've lost all your marbles." And maybe so, but it was my wedding and I'll bake if I want to. Hmph. We hosted the dinner at our new cabin with my Dad serving up thirty (!) pounds of pulled pork on checkered table cloths stacked with frosty beer bottles and sweet wine - it was a picture perfect picnic smack in the center of our living room.
And I made raspberry oat bars, monster cookies, a peanut butter pie that is still stuck to my hips and these brownies - grasshopper brownies, buttercream mint brownies, crème de menthe brownies - whatever you like. My brother, David, came home with a bottle of crème de menthe, accused me of being an alcoholic by "sneaking it into food," and gave me some long winded explanation about why the liquor wasn't green. If your crème de menthe is of the clear variety, you can add a few drops of food coloring, or go au naturel as I did.
Putting these into the Brownie category is really selling them short - they are so, so much more than that. The brownies is simply the base - a chocolaty, fudgy, chewy vessel for carrying an inch-thick layer of minted buttercream to your mouth, held down by a snap of bittersweet chocolate that cracks under your teeth with each bite. They are quite sweet in the best way, and you'll do well to keep a cup of coffee in one hand and a brownie in the other. Also, the liquor alone isn't enough to give the buttercream its minty boost, so you'll need a bit of peppermint extract. I made the mistake of buying mint extract which turned out of be a combination of spearmint and peppermint, and the very smell of spearmint makes me gag worse than strep-test. Do as I say, not as I do.
It's best to keep them in the fridge or else you run the risk of the buttercream becoming too soft and oozing all over your fingers. We even ate them straight from the freezer where they'll keep for a few weeks, tightly wrapped.