Brownies and Moody Photography

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I have been planning to bring you this recipe for brownies for as long as I have been thinking about blogging. They are ooey-gooey and have a fudge-like taste while also having the light fluffy texture of cake-like brownies. In other words, they are perfect. They are the kind of browny you bring to a party when you want everyone to talk about the brownies you brought to the party. In fact, I did recently bring these to a get-together. One person took one tasted it and promptly took THREE more. True story. I just sat there in awe of this teens confidence in his metabolism. I also knew I must find a way to share this recipe with you.

My biggest concern with these brownies was not the recipe or whether you would like them. It was with taking photos of them. I really love the story that food tells. Good or bad, it always does tell a story. One of talent, time, ingredients, mistakes, failures, effort and growth. But that doesn’t make all food photogenic. So I set out learning how to convey the story of these brownies with photography.

I love the dark and moody concept for food photography. When I came across this video by Sean Tucker on protecting your highlights I was challenged to highlight what makes these brownies the out-of-this-world treat they are. Their texture.

Taking concepts for manipulating light, I built a darkroom fort made of black sheets in front of my favorite window. I also used a thin white sheet to gently filter the light from a strong afternoon sun.  Playing around with the brownies, tilting them this way and that while spying through the lens really brought Sean’s point about protecting our highlights into focus. (Sorry.) It’s easy to lose sight of the texture, magic, and power of those highlights if we are not careful to preserve them. It takes an effort to learn how to shift our focus. First, we need to have an idea of what to focus on. And if we are talking about life, our brains are not naturally inclined to think that way. I recently read that 80% of our daily thoughts are negative and that 98% of those daily thoughts are the same thoughts from the day before. This is why I like the idea of mindfulness so much. Taking our negative thought processing brains out of autopilot and training them to see and focus on the highlights, the good things that should have our attention in the present moment. Things that will help us to be kinder about our past and more hopeful towards the future.

I am hopeful that these brownies have a place in your future.

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Perfect Fudge Brownies

 The texture of these brownies is accomplished by carefully folding whipped egg whites into the batter. This creates the perfect cakieness that makes a good browny easy to hold and bite into but as soon as you take that bite it melts away and is chewy and tastes like good fudge. You really can have it all.   

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Flour
  • 3 oz Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 oz Butter
  • 16 oz sugar
  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1 tsp Almond extract
  • 5 oz Whole milk
  • 4 Egg whites

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

  2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a very large bowl.

  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from heat and add sugar.

  4. Add the whole eggs and almond extract into the sugar mixture and beat until the eggs are well incorporated.

  5. Stir the sugar mixture and milk into the dry ingredients. 

  6. Beat the egg white to a stiff peak stage and carefully fold them into the batter.  

  7. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter.

  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. In my oven, it always takes 37 minutes. The center may sink a little once the brownies are cool but baked any further, the sides get dry and crispy. 

Recipe Notes

*this recipe was adapted from the fudge brownies recipe in a culinary textbook called Techniques of Healthy Cooking.  

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