embellished with sea salt

So apparently, I suffer from insomnia. I have recently taken to waking up at 2 am in the morning to bake vodka-brownies and cook mint-garlic chicken.

This is what happens when you have illusions about food-ful weekends. When you think that you can work all you want throughout a week and then spend the whole weekend in food — spend a Saturday afternoon baking yogurt cake and a Saturday evening with friends at Bohemian. You look forward spending to spending a Sunday soaking in mango chutney and a cookbook that’s been sitting on your shelf unread since last winter. Since last winter.

But pretty soon you realize that the dream of a weekend spent by the oven is only that – a dream.

By the time Friday rolls around, you’re out of juice. You drag your feet heavily on the way to work on Saturday [because the idea of a half-day at work is still alive and well in India], you droop dramatically over your workstation and you hope against all the signs that you’d be back home before tea. By the time you do get home, you’re so freaking tired that you kick off your shoes, wolf down something that looks a lot like lunch and hit the bed. 24 hours later when you manage to wake up, the weekend is over. Your mother looks relieved because sleeping for hours like the dead made her half-suspect that you were suffering from a deadly brain disease [apparently she had been poking her head around the study-room door, where I’d made my makeshift bed, every hour or so to see if I’d started foaming at the mouth]. And before you know it, another sucky Monday comes bounding through your door with a sneer plastered all over its pock-marked face.

Before you know it, you’ve ignored your loving food blog and its readers for a whole week. You haven’t baked or cooked or even eaten well for quite sometime and no amount of cake can pacify your stress. Under such situations, you need something darker and deeper. Something that makes your teeth work and jolts your taste-buds awake and sends a large consignment of sugar to your half-asleep brain. You need brownies. With vodka, no less.

I made these at 1 am in the morning. When else would I have had the time?! But the good news is, these are the kind of brownies that can handle late night pressure. In fact, to be completely fair, all kinds of brownies can handle late night pressure. I have a sneaking suspicion that brownies were invented just to handle high stress, wild-eyed-frenzy-I’m-mad-enough-to-bite-you sort of situations.

These come from Donna Hay and are spiked with vodka – which is an obvious after-effect of having a half-empty bottle of Smirnoff that somebody forgot to put away, sitting on your dining table. They’re sweet, fudgy, intensely chocolate-y, immensely satisfying and come embellished with sea salt, which is exactly how I take my brownies, thank you.

1 am Brownies with Vodka and Sea Salt
brownie recipe adapted from Donna Hay

150gm (1 1/2 stick or 3/4 cup) of salted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar [try loosely-packed brown sugar like Demerara]
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
3 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp vodka
Sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Grease and line a brownie pan an pre-heat oven to 170 deg C. In a pan, on very low heat melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the sugar, cocoa powder and coffee. Take the pan off heat and stir vigorously for about a minute to bring the temperature down a little. Whisk in the 3 eggs till no white or yellow streaks remain. Add flour and vodka and whisk again. Pour into the brownie pan and bake for 20-25 minutes till a toothpick inserted into centre comes out slightly greasy. Let the pan cool completely, before cutting the baked batter into pieces. The brownies taste even better after an hour-long spell in the refrigerator. Serve either dusted with sugar or with sea salt sprinkles on top [preferred].


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Thirty-four, recovering chocoholic, serial traveler, bookworm, pencil-addict, dance fiend, architect, born eater, allergic to rules, always at the wrong end of things, Doesn't really give a damn...

13 thoughts on “embellished with sea salt”

  1. Oh, and I know you would help me with this if I did it on my blog.. you have one spelling thing-nie.. “I’m suffer…” should be “I suffer”…? Feel free to delete this message… ! Happy Monday from Brooklyn. x

  2. I am a night person, for me the best time to bake is when the household is quiet and the phone switched off 🙂 Your brownies look divine, Amrita.

    1. Isn’t it?! As a student, my routine was upside down, so all the time I did get to bake was after midnight! But now, the routine’s right-side up [highly boring] and these late night baking sessions do seem more relaxing. 🙂

  3. Just found yr blog via my friend Dimity–anyone who makes vodka brownies and mint-garlic chicken at midnight is okay by me. Everything here looks great but where’s the chicken recipe??

    1. Hello Ken! And anyone who’s fine with loitering around the kitchen after midnight is OK by me! The chicken recipe’s coming up…pretty soon. Stay around a while! ;-D

  4. I’ve been there. I don’t think I’ve slept well since birth! But if you are going to be up in the middle of the night, this is an excellent use of time.

  5. I’ve recently finished my college finals and like you, the stress of all the work involved lead to my blog being neglected as well as early morning baking in a bid to cope with it all. I chose a chocolaty treat as well only in the form of ginger, cointreau and dark chocolate cupcakes while I’ll be posting in a few weeks time. These look fantastic and I only wish I’d known about these a few weeks prior – the vodka would definitely have helped me relax 😛

  6. I’m doing my best at holding back a smirk because I know those days a little too well but, right now I’m kicking my feet up in the air as a stay-at-home-wife. I know if I let it out, it’ll bite me royally in the ass once I get back in the rat race. 😀 But, the food that comes out of such days sometimes cannot be rivaled, just like this sinful brownie you’ve got here.

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