One golden rule to the art of storytelling has withstood the test of time and clime:
“Show, don’t tell.”
I call it story-showing. If a picture’s worth 1000 words, a moving image is priceless.
What story does this gif show you?
Maybe it shows you a comforting, rich, fudgy morsel of relief on the tattered couch after an exhausting Friday.
Maybe it shows you a righty trying really hard to be a lefty, with limited success.
Or perhaps it shows you something subtler.
Maybe it shows you a girl staring out the window into the distance as the seconds on her kitchen clock tick by–5, 10, 22, 43– without her noticing. The heater hums its monotonous, warm tone; the girl’s chapped fingers stretch across her forehead: thumb to right temple, middle finger pressing against the left temple so the small patch of skin there pales to an exhausted white.
She breathes in, one, two, deep breaths, it smells like comfort and calm and cocoa.
Maybe it shows the same girl leaning over the beaten oven now–beaten but not conquered–pulling out a gleaming tray of thick fudgy brownies that will melt in your mouth and, consequently, melt your heart. The faces from the day, too many faces to count, fade into an indistinct swirl as bright white chocolate swirls wink at her from the brownie-tops and whisper her name.
Take solace. We’re the fudgiest you’ve had, and we know you.
There are unseen friends and future tongues that will taste them. They will laugh, smile, and say to her with little gestures of appreciation, “What the fudge–these are incredible!”
As the thought of it runs through her mind like a locomotive–starting slow at first, then gradually gaining momentum, its engine cranking and its wheels wheezing until it’s hurtling along the track and suddenly whips around the corner and out of sight–as it runs through her mind like that vanished locomotive, and her tired fingers twitch on the edge of the pan–
she is smiling.
And her teeth are stained with fudge.
What story do you see?
What the FUDGE Brownies Adapted from Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies Recipe Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (divided)
- 1 1/2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 tablespoon instant coffee granules, finely crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/4 cup flour, and 1 tablespoon flour (divided)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat for 30 seconds and stir; continue heating at 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until mixture is completely melted and smooth when stirred.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Add slightly cooled chocolate mixture and stir in. Mix in 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring until just incorporated.
- Toss remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in 1 tablespoon flour and fold into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, then rap pan against the side of oven to force out any air bubbles. Continue baking for an additional 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely in the pan.
- Frost with chocolate ganache (recipe below). Allow brownies and frosting to set up completely for at least 1-2 hours in the fridge before cutting into 16 large, rich squares.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a pot, combine all ingredients over a medium flame. Stir continuously as margarine melts; heat until all ingredients combine into a smooth chocolate mixture (approximately 1-2 minutes).
- Beat ingredients with a spoon for at least 1-2 minutes, until it starts to stiffen. Pour over brownies while they are still in the pan; spread ganache as needed to create a thick, even layer. Allow to cool in fridge for at least 1-2 hours before cutting.