Friday, October 28, 2011

5 observations and last minute brownies

  1. Watching groups of kids dance elaborate, and impressively costumed routines will make you happy. There's nothing like seeing the usually shy kid, or even better the sullen kid, totally and joyfully get down with the group. The comparsa is a long-standing tradition at schools here in Panama. In my kids' school grades six to twelve participate in comparsas. Each grade prepares a dance routine for a competition. It's usually a mix of hip hop and latin. The parents for each grade all wear the same colour (they're called the 'barra') and try to cheer the loudest (including whistles and air horns) for their group. It's really fun and you can see how comfortable the kids get with the dancing by twelfth grade.
  2. I'm not much for make-up, but I do enjoy a pretty manicure. If we ever get invited anywhere remotely fancy I get a manicure. It might be incongruous with my bare face and messy hair, but I am a sucker for a pretty nail colour.
  3. Teaching can be kind of political. A student asked my why I was teaching firefighter instead of fireman. I said, because a firefighter could be woman. He looked at me knowingly and said, ah you're a feminist. I actually teach it this way to introduce the verb "to fight," but whatever.
  4. Running has been so good since the half marathon. I've been maintaining 30 km a week and it's just been fun and easy. I think I'm finally feeling the benefits of months of training.
  5. I love this video. It's not my favourite song on the album (I have way too big of a rock and roll crush on Carrie Brownstein for that). Spazzing out in outfield--I can totally relate to that (except I'd never catch the ball).

I have somehow given my daughter the impression that home baking is effortless. And thus, I found myself at 11:00 pm, scrounging through my fridge and cupboards for ingredients. She wanted brownies (well actually she wanted cupcakes but settled for brownies). I had enough flour, butter and eggs but no sugar, only powdered sugar and an odd assortment of chocolate (semi-sweet, unsweetened and a couple of tablespoons of cocoa).  I also found a bag of marshmallows. I figured I could add some marshmallows to sweeten things up--you're supposed to double the amount of powdered sugar when you use it in place of regular sugar.
Here's the original recipe:

These are cakey rather than fudgy. In my experience, kids prefer them like this.

1-½ cups flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
⅔ cups butter
1-½ cup sugar
4 Tablespoons milk
2 packages semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 Ounce Packages)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and mix to combine. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar and water. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in one package of the chocolate chips and the vanilla extract. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly blend in the flour mixture, and then add the remaining package of chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

So, I made this with 12 ounces of chocolate (four ounces were semisweet, the rest was unsweetened and cocoa) and two cups of powdered sugar. I folded in two cups of cut up marshmallows. They turned out great.

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