Martha’s Brownies on the Double!- Double Chocolate Brownies – 87 eggs, 66 1/4 cups of sugar, 65 1/2 sticks of Butter, and 78 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 125 recipes to go!

August 10, 2010


Martha's Double Chocolate Brownies

André's Double Chocolate Brownies

I started this blog fifty recipes ago with one-hundred-and-twenty-five more to go. I can happily report I have neither gained weight or developed diabetes so far. I have limited my intake to one sample (mostly) and then share the rest with friends and coworkers. Martha’s Double Chocolate Brownies are no exception, although it was hard not to over-indulge with these sinfully delicious confections. Most brownie recipes are fairly predictable. Butter, flour, sugar, cocoa, and eggs are combined to make a caky, chocolaty block which can be sliced into bite-sized portions. Homemade brownies are often dry and tough. I have to report this recipe actually surpassed every brownie recipe I’ve ever made as far as taste and texture. The double-chocolate is in reference to the use of both Dutch-processed cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate. These two ingredients are melted with butter over a double boiler and then added to the sugar, egg, and vanilla. The wet ingredients are combined with the dry ingredients and baked into these rich, sweet, chocolaty, fudgy treats. If you are looking for a perfect brownie, bake this recipe!

I shared a batch of these delicious squares with a few of my coworkers. Here are a few words from their critique:

“We have to say, the brownies were gorgeous.  What a great glossiness on the top  and such a dark rich color throughout.  The “brownie purists” in the group were excited to try this brownie.  They love just a basic brownie.  No nuts, no caramel, no nothing but the chocolate.  The bitterness of the dark chocolate won rave reviews.  Overall, the brownies received a round of applause  from us!”

So, there you have it. They apparently found them scrumptious. Isn’t scrumptious a funny word? Heterosexual men probably struggle with that word. You can’t really say it without losing “hetero-street-cred.”

I’m sure there are quite a few gay men who struggle with this word, too. Particularly in the Mid-West.  I’ve never encountered so many gay men who seem to hate being gay as here in the Mid-West. I currently live in Kansas City with my partner of almost six years, Dan. I moved here to be with him. Compulsive? Yes, I know. But there is a philosophy built around Shakespeare’s works that I have always clung to. In the Bard’s plays, characters who pursue love end the play with comedy. Comedy in Shakespeare’s world does not necessarily mean “funny.” It does mean happiness, though. Well, contentment at the very least. Shakespeare’s comedies always end with marriage and usually not with the person they wanted to marry from the beginning.

Many of you might be thinking What about Romeo & Juliet? Well, R&J was a wonderful comedy while the two kids pursued love, but halfway through the play Romeo stops pursuing love to take a stab at vengeance. He pursues revenge and offs Tybalt. After that, the play descends into a bloodbath.

So, I decided to pursue love and move to Kansas City to be with Dan, and I try to remind myself everyday to keep focused and pursue love. I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times, distracted by pursuing money, power, title, cookies, etc… but, for the most part, I’ve kept love in my cross-hairs.

When I first came to Kansas City, I had the intention of getting my own apartment since Dan and I had only known each other a few months and I didn’t want to smother him. I also had the intention of going back to school to study music composition since it was through a music director gig at a local university that pulled me into Kansas City, and ultimately to Dan.

Dan offered for me to stay in his apartment above a coffee and gelato shop until I found work and an apartment. I accepted and with most of my belongings stored in the basement of my apartment in New Jersey, I arrived with a couple of suitcases and a pretty loose plan of my Kansas City invasion would go down. Once settled in, Dan introduced me to his landlord and owner of the store below, Tim. Tim also had a boyfriend named Tim- well, Dr. Tim since he was a dentist. Tim offered me a part time job in the coffee and gelato shop below.

Things were falling into place. I started work at the coffee shop the next day and got to know the owner pretty quickly. Mostly because he never shut up. He was a fairly short and fit man. Tanned with light hair and eyes that continuously darted nervously about like some sort of insane meerkat. His mouth was twisted in an almost frozen smirk and his brow was permanently lowered in some form of disapproval. Apparently he was financially well-off. I knew this because one of his favorite topics seemed to be talking about his money, possessions, and social standing within the community- topics I find distasteful and undignified. I disliked him terribly. I found him vile and offensive.

Within moments of stepping into his parlor (gelato-that is) I wanted nothing to do with him.

Some of my favorite Tim quotes:

“I’m not a fag. There’s a difference between being gay and being a fag. Fags are nelly little queens who take drugs and spread AIDS. I am not one of them.”

“Dan never struck me as the ‘settling-down’ type, so don’t be disappointed when this falls apart in a month or so.”

“Dan must like the chubby, bald, furry types. Well, no accounting for tastes, I suppose.”

“I’d sooner cut off my arm than hire a ni**er!”

“I’m not a racist. I just understand the difference between black people and ni**ers. Don’t get me wrong. White people can be ni**ers, too!”

He sounds like a real charmer, huh? I wasn’t going to pick any fights with him, though. I was carefully choosing my battles and for the time being I was thankful to have a little money coming in. With one of the tenants moving out at the end of the month, I made arrangements to sign the lease and become Dan’s new neighbor. That is, until I noticed how Tim handled mail delivery.

The mail carrier would come everyday and fill the mailboxes in front of the building. Tim would then go out and collect the mail and sort through it. I stood in shock as he went through Dan’s mail commenting on the magazines and bills Dan received.

“Should you be going through your tenant’s mail like that? You could get in a lot of trouble.” -I commented.

“Why not? It’s my building.”- Tim responded.

His response wasn’t sitting right with me.  This was an arrogant invasion of privacy. I had moved from Jersey City where tenants’ rights were taken very seriously. I couldn’t believe this guy thought it was simply okay to go through other people’s mail whether they lived in his building or not. It was just so indecent. I told Dan about it and he just shrugged. He had accepted that was how Tim liked to do things and really didn’t like controversy. I, however, have no problem with confrontation and I certainly wouldn’t accept him sorting through any of my mail and as this was my forwarding address, it would be arriving soon, right into Tim’s hands. No way!

Meanwhile, Tim, sensing my frustration about the mail thing informed me that he didn’t want me to lease the other apartment after all. I, in turn, angrily informed him that I didn’t want to work in his coffee shop as I questioned his integrity and ethics. (I used some other choice words, too.)

I called the postmaster for our zip code and reported what was happening. I guess postmasters don’t see much action in this part of the country. Within hours he was in the coffee shop and confronting Tim. He explained how going through other people’s mail was a federal offense. Tim argued with him that it was his property and he could do what he wanted. The postmaster explained that Tim, by leasing a portion of his property for free and clear usage by the tenant made the mailbox Dan’s property. This infuriated Tim and after the postmaster left the premises, he tore down the mailboxes. I immediately set up a private post office box for myself and Dan. That evening, Tim placed a notice on Dan’s door. It basically ordered two things. I would not be allowed into the building and he would call the police if I was to even step foot on the premises, and that Dan was now evicted from his apartment and had less than two weeks to get out. To add insult to injury, Tim locked the door to the stairway’s top lock, which always needed to be left unlocked since the tenants didn’t have a key. This required Dan to drive to Tim and Dr. Tim’s house to fetch a key while Tim gloated over his minor, although highly illegal victory.

Dan was furious with me.

“Why couldn’t you have just let things be?” – he cried in frustration.

“Because what he was doing was wrong!” – I yelled back.

It was our first conflict and it was a doozie. We were both going to be homeless. Well, I was already homeless. Dan had secured me a place on his friend’s cat-pee-soaked couch while we both searched for a new apartment.

We eventually decided to live together and found a loft in a converted paint factory located in an up and coming, although bohemian area of the city. We bitterly moved Dan out of the apartment above the Nazi gelato and coffee shop and to our new loft above the art gallery across from the pizza bar. Tim did little things to make sure the move didn’t go very smoothly. He’d lock things that were previously unlocked. Doors, dumpsters, gates, all little things to make sure we were totally inconvenienced. What Tim didn’t know is that his petty torments were making the relationship between Dan and I stronger. We had only been together for a few months and had encountered our first huge obstacle. He was my Tybalt. I could have gotten a lawyer and legally destroyed him. He had violated Dan and my rights repeatedly and there were plenty of damages, punitive and actual, but rather than fighting him in the courts, we walked away. I moved to Kansas City to pursue love, not wrestle with justice.

Tim’s building was eventually sold and the shop moved to the Country Club Plaza where it’s a popular place to stop for a coffee or a cup of gelato. There’s even a few African Americans on the staff. Maybe Tim has grown up a bit. Who knows?

In a strange way, I am thankful Dan and I encountered Tim when we did. It’s made us value each other more, and made our relationship stronger.

After all, what good is a love story without a dastardly villain?

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5 Responses to “Martha’s Brownies on the Double!- Double Chocolate Brownies – 87 eggs, 66 1/4 cups of sugar, 65 1/2 sticks of Butter, and 78 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 125 recipes to go!”

  1. nina Says:

    as usual, a great story and a love story at that! now if i only had a brownie while i was reading it ;). Andre, i certainly hope that you end up publishing these stories in a book. i’d love for this adventure of cookies be sitting on my bookshelf next to martha’s book of cookies. would give me a reason to buy her book just so i could set that up! i can see myself sitting on the portland tram or a ferry in the pacific northwest laughing my head off as i read these short stories or wiping tears as some of them have been so touching. this read was a great way to start my day! tho i must admit i now crave a brownie something fierce!

  2. Russ Says:

    Tim sounds like a sociopath. I wish you would have sued him.

  3. mode20100 Says:

    A+ would read again

  4. Danielle Says:

    Andre’…All I can say is I absolutely love and look forward to reading your blog… chocolate yummy brownies, and a beautiful love story… I couldn’t hope for a better way to start my morning… 🙂 And btw, my empty Tupperware containers are still sitting here with your address sitting on top of them… I tend to procrastinate. 🙂


  5. […] I packed most of my belongings in boxes and stored them in the basement of my brownstone in Jersey City. I arrived in Kansas City with two suitcases. I stayed with Dan in his apartment above a coffee and gelato shop in a cute little area of Kansas City near his workplace. Things were bumpy for the first few weeks. Very bumpy, in fact. If you’d like to read more about that mishigas you can do so here. […]


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