unapologetically spicy smores brownies

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with a flash and bang, summer is gone. it wasn’t even a gradual transition, no gentle fade-out-of-summer-fade-into-fall. no. mother nature is unmerciful sometimes and i swear, once it struck midnight on september 1st, 2016, there was a distinct chill in the air again. a sharpness that only comes in autumn. clouded skies. early sunsets. emails in our inboxes about PSLs. (shut up starbucks im not ready yet).

i’ve mentioned it before, but i like to find meaning in everything. be it a chance event, interaction(s) with someone, a scene you see as you’re driving, a photo you’ve taken. making the insignificant significant. yes it can be dangerous, but it’s human nature. sometimes it’s out of necessity, sometimes it’s just for fun, and sometimes you’re just bored and it’s an exercise for the mind.

in this case… these brownies have a few meanings.

  • one.) they capture the essence of summer. smores is a quintessential campfire treat, and the cayenne pepper is the fire that forever burns.
  • two.) it represents the complexity of  life and the “there’s more than meets the eye” situations… brownies are so, so indulgent, but if you look closely, there are chia seeds. the metaphorical good in every situation. it just depends on your perspective.
  • three.) i’ve always been intrigued by Mexican mole sauce and the pairing between chocolate and chili (and cinnamon!) and wanted to work it into my baking.
  • four.) maybe i just really wanted to make people eat something disgusting but make them think i intended it to taste good.

kidding about the last one. you guys know my sense of humour.

or am i.

i saw this post on ladyandpups where she puts grated white cheddar on top of a sponge cake, and while i’m all for crazy combinations (peanut butter & fried egg sandwich with a dash of soy sauce is srsly AMAZING) sometimes i wonder if sometimes chefs randomly pairs two different ingredients, perhaps with a random generator, then proceeds to hipsterfy it through a myriad of different techniques, obscure sourcing of ingredients, abstract plating, coming up with a meaning behind it… and then SERVES IT TO US and we patrons are like YES MHM AHH THIS TASTES VERY GOOD HOW INNOVATIVE FIVE STARS FOR YOU.

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Hot Chocolate Festival 2015

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I didn’t know it was possible for so many things to happen in the span of three weeks, but they did. Let’s rewind all the back to the start of February…

I took a small reprieve on a Thursday afternoon (a cancelled tutorial = a total luxury) and caught up with two friends from high school over a sort-of warm cup of hot chocolate.

Although we haven’t seen each other in at least six months, our conversations fit together just as they did years ago– a comfortable rhythm, familiar laughter.

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Brioche with maybe-genius Marzipan

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Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.

(not quite “Let them eat cake”. More like “Let them eat really rich buttery yeasted bread”)

Okay Marie Antoinette, if you insist.

When I was in Paris, I ate my weight in brioche. It’s astounding how something packed with butter and eggs can taste like it is made out of air. Proof: my dad commented offhandedly after tasting this brioche how airy it was, and that I must’ve not used a lot of butter. (I chortled. Chortled.)

Ethereally light, cloud-like, melt-in-your mouth– to me, that’s the sign of a superb brioche. Continue reading →

Chocolate PB Raspberry Chia Loaf

Happy First-Week-into-New-Years, everyone! How’s everyone holding up? How’s that gym membership going for ya?

I’m very excited for 2015, but that’s only because I love odd numbers and I love the way 2015 looks, compared to 2014. I liked 2013 too, but 2015 looks nicer. Okay. My weirdness is showing.

Although I’m sort of wary of all the gimmicky things you’ll see around New Years– ads selling things with the promise of a better, new you; vitamins and supplements all shifted to the front of stores– I do appreciate this time of year, because it gives us a chance to breathe and reflect. New Years = a big stop sign in our lives. We stop, and realize another year has passed. We stop, and think about what we’d do differently. And yes, most of the time you may not carry through with your resolutions, but honestly, they don’t need to be impossible goals. Start simple, and go slow. Continue reading →

Salted Chocolate Marzipan Babka

I hope everyone’s been having a lovely, wonderful, restful holiday season!

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After exams were over, my main preoccupations were working/volunteering, catching up with old friends, baking, and of course, revamping my blog. Besides updating posts that I had drafted since summer (and I’m still not finished), I switched platforms, from blogger to wordpress. It’s been a relatively smooth switch, but I didn’t know wordpress.com didn’t let you change the coding of a theme. Which is unnerving, but at least I can manually change the font of each post by the text editor option.

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And in other, more exciting news… I bought my first DSLR (Canon t5i) on Black Friday. I’m sort of technologically challenged/jinxed. Given my history of dropping/spilling things on my laptop, breaking things accidentally, and just being a klutz in general, I honestly was too afraid to even open the box until after exam season, when I would have more time to figure it out (ie. struggle with the instruction manual). Putting in the lens was an ordeal in itself, really.

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