Greetings, humans. I woke up with a lot of energy this morning, weirdly enough. That honestly never happens and I’ll hit snooze on my alarm until well past when I should. I suppose I’m well rested from having a pretty low-key weekend, and I didn’t go out on Sunday, which I’ve been doing for some reason the past couple of weeks and it always leads to me dragging my ass come Monday. I probably wanted to squeeze in as much ~fun~ as possible before the end of summer, but I’m looking out my window this morning and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The high is supposed to be 77 degrees today and the sky is impossibly blue. Nothing gold can stay, of course, and I think it’s going to rain for much of the rest of the week, but we have our windows open right now so I’ll take what I can. On Friday night, we went to our friend’s apartment in Park Slope to play Settlers of Catan. The house won the game (this time – I will beat them eventually), but it was a really fun night and got to be a bit close there between Kramer and our friend Russ. On Saturday, we slept in a bit, lounged on the couch while watching a little TV, then made our way over to The Meathook Sandwich Shop to pick up classic Italian subs (and one roast beef) to bring over to our friend Tom and Valerie’s house. You see, Tom and Val just had their baby and as pregnant women are cautioned not to eat cured or smoked meats, my M.O. when I see a new mother is to bring her a giant Italian sandwich with all the fixings. It’s because I care. About meats. Anyway, we spent the day meeting the new baby while Tom made us piña coladas – not too shabby. I used to work with Valerie at a hedge fund when we were both admins (i.e. she knew what she was doing and it was my first real New York job). We’ve been friends for just over four years now, but it feels like we’ve always known each other. Sometimes you really luck out with the people you end up meeting, and Val’s one of those people that I felt an immediate connection with. Thankfully, we’re both out of the hedge fund game now and it’s so exciting to see her and Tom starting their own little family. I even got called Aunt Sydney, which probably would have scared the crap out of me a few years ago, but now? I kind of like the sound of it! I always thought I’d be a cool aunt.
My beautiful friend Valerie.
A few weeks ago, before Val had the baby (obviously), she asked if I’d take a few photos of her while she was still pregnant. I was thrilled. I shoot food 99.9% of the time, so my pictures-of-people skills aren’t really that great, but practice makes perfect and if Val was okay being my guinea pig, then so be it. I rented a fun tilt-shift lens and we spent the day walking around the Long Island City waterfront taking pictures while I tried to “direct”, by which I mean I made a bunch of stupid jokes and tried to make her laugh while also forcing her husband Tom to jump in a couple shots. I’m really happy with how these turned out. Val is clearly gorgeous, pregnant or otherwise, so that made things pretty easy, but she seemed so happy and excited to be a mom that her good spirits made getting a smile out of her a piece of cake. I hope I can convince more people to let me take a couple of photos of them some time soon, and Val and Tom seemed to like these, so there’s nowhere to go but up!
I believe that this is the last of my graham cracker recipe series. There’s been s’mores cinnamon rolls, a mocha ice box cake, paletas, snickerdoodles and a chocolate peanut butter pie. For the final recipe, I wanted to share something that I love – brownies. I’d prefer brownies over a cookie or a piece of cake (the only thing I love more is pie, which has also been well documented here). I adore thick, chewy, fudgey brownies in particular. I want a brownie that calls out of a big, cold glass of milk to wash it all down. These are those brownies. The graham cracker streusel is only a bonus, and the gooey marshmallows make for an excellent s’more brownie, indeed. I’m especially proud of the streusel. Why not just replace all of the flour in an ordinary streusel with ground up graham crackers? I had trouble not just spooning the streusel directly into my mouth – maybe go ahead and make a little extra to sprinkle on your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or your evening ice cream (because we all need evening ice cream). While the graham cracker saga is coming to an end, I think that you’ll remember these recipes for at least a while longer…or until you’ve hit the gym a few times. You’re welcome.
We lucked out and it was beautiful the day we shot these, although it was a bit warm by the end of the day.
Val was a trooper, though!
And one of her dog, Mia, for good measure.
So – brownie time. Here’s what you’ll need.
Get your streusel ingredients together first.
Use your hands to form the streusel and cut in the butter, then refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
Chop your chocolate.
Fold your chocolate into your brownie batter.
Spread the batter into your prepared 9×13-inch dish, top with the streusel and dot with halved marshmallows.
Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing.
These are some seriously dark, fudgey brownies.
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 1 ½ cups butter, melted
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- 15-20 halved marshmallows (for topping)
- First, make the streusel. Combine your graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add in the cubed butter, then use your hands to cut it into the graham cracker mixture until pea-sized crumbs form. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla, then one egg at a time, incorporating each egg before adding in the next one.
- Slowly add in your flour, cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
- Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment, or grease very liberally. Spread your brownie batter into the prepared dish, then sprinkle with the streusel. Pat the streusel down a bit so it sticks to the brownie batter, then press your halved marshmallows into the batter (alternatively, you could swirl marshmallow creme or fluff into these brownies). Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until mostly set. The brownies will still jiggle a little when they’re done, but a toothpick should come out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing - these are ooey, gooey, fudgey brownies, so they’ll need to be set and cooled or else you’ll have a delicious mess on your hands when you go to cut them!