China in Photos

China in Photos: Day No. 70 In Which It Rains & I Bake Something from a Box…

And no, it wasn’t escargot.  I just thought this little guy looked kind of cool on our way home from dim sum today with some friends and their progeny from the consulate.

Did I mention that of friend’s kids are so adorable they should probably be peddling Welche’s grape juice or clothes from Baby Gap or something?

They are just the sort of happy chubby-cheeked babies and toddlers that make you go home and say to your spouse, “huh, I kind of want some a few of those someday.”

To which he replies something along the lines of “That sounds great, how about 7?”

And then the conversation diverges quickly towards what’s for dinner.

I kid, I kid.  We are (slightly) more mature than that (very slightly).

Anyways, what I really wanted to talk about tonight, besides snails and babies was brownies.  Brownies from a box.

Sure I’m usually the girl who likes to whip up homemade bagels and croissants from scratch.  I generally advocate on this blog for homemade bread over store-bought and don’t even get me started on the deliciousness that is homemade english muffins.  In my world, chocolate chip cookies NEVER come from a package or a mix.

But brownies, well brownies come from a box, and that’s it, end of story.

Sure I have amazing brownie recipes that call for dark dutch-processed cocoa and freshly-brewed espresso.  They are delicious, don’t get me wrong.

But brownies from a box are like some miracle of corporate kitchen chemistry.  They are gooey and satisfying and pleasingly fudge-like without being too greasy or heavy or sweet or chocolatey.

Yes, I’m of the somewhat controversial opinion that brownies can be too chocolatey.  If all I wanted was chocolate, why bake brownies? Why not just eat chocolate?

I don’t even really care what kind of stuff they put in these brownie mixes, I really don’t.   For me it just doesn’t get any better than a box of brownies, baked until the batter becomes crisp around the edges but still unabashedly and dangerously gooey, in the middle.

It’s a culinary step up from gobbling raw batter straight from the mixing bowl, but not not an overly ambitious one.

Sure, there are ways to hack box brownies by adding chocolate chips or coffee or other secret additions, but why bother?  The good people at Betty Crocker have already created the perfect marriage between chocolate, fat, and dubious chemical components whose names I can not pronounce.

I will say this though for tweaks on the standard back-of-box serving recommendations: box brownies + homemade vanilla custard = empty brownie pan in 15 minutes.

Now, if you will excuse me, I believe it’s time for me to roll on over to bed.  Good night and have a great Labor Day!

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2 thoughts on “China in Photos: Day No. 70 In Which It Rains & I Bake Something from a Box…

  1. I just discovered your blog a few days ago. It almost makes me want to move to China, almost. I agree that brownies mix makes pretty perfect brownies, I am putting brownie mix on my Amazon wish list right now.

    Can I ask a favor? If you share recipes would you please, pretty please, share your recipe for English muffins? I love English muffins especially with homemade apple butter but every recipe I have tried have only been so-so. I would love to make some.

    • Ooh I should post the English Muffin recipe! Next batch I make (probably within a few weeks) I’l put it up. But if you want to know before then, here’s the Peter Reinhart recipe I use from the Pinch My Salt blog. We don’t have buttermilk usually so I use regular and I like to make them with about 1/2 wheat flour, 1/2 regular, I think the flavor is nicer but the nooks and crannies aren’t quite as big that way 🙂

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