A few weeks ago, some friends had the foresight to call a competitive baking competition. Are there sweeter words to my ears? I love baking, and I can't help but be competitive, so this was a combination I was destined to take seriously.
After planning my recipe for several days, sourcing the ingredients, and spending a fair amount of sweat putting together my Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies with a Oatmeal Cookie crust, I discovered an hour before we went that they were terrible. Utterly awful. I had doubled the brownie amount without getting a large anough dish, so the top and bottom had burnt and the middle was raw. I panicked but decided to stick with the brownie theme: I'm a brownie maven, and can create a batch from scratch within 4 minutes (minus cook time) even when drunk. Being American, I know a good from bad brownie and I have a good recipe. So batch number 2 became brownies with a peanut butter topping (seen below, decorated with hearts and stars. HEARTS AND STARS. Bring on the accolades).
All entries were graded on 5 seperate criteria, with you not being allowed to award yourself any points:
- Presentation/implied effort
- Carbon Footprint
One by one, everyone gave me the least number of points available. Reasons? They didn't like peanut butter. The brownies were a bit dense. They 'just didn't like them'. These. These brownies, which when I sampled them, made me think: 'this is the best batch you've ever done'. I didn't just tate brownie when I ate them, I tasted victory.
C'MON PEOPLE! Don't like peanut butter??! Too dense (and this from my husband, too)!? I've lain awake many a night since this bake-off, wondering where things went wrong. Had some of them never tasted a real brownie before? Were they beaten as children while their school teacher made them eat brownies? I don't have an answer, I just know this was a dark day for my soul and that I haven't baked a batch of brownies since.