As the roads wind up to the city of North Conway, the scenes change. Its urban at the face of it, yet cleverly rural. There are malls, restaurants and ad banners everywhere. Yet, as you drive up the northern hemisphere, the mountain peaks play a peek a boo at every tide of the road. There's a cast of green spell in all shades, a submission to nature, with breath taking views that make you wanderlust. It makes you twisted in tongue and in loss of words.
We went camping in a group of ten, living life in tents and sleeping bags, holding lanterns to cook food on the grill, sitting by the fire and toasting up s'mores, curling up the feet to bare the chilly nights and seeing starry constellations in inky-black skies. And that makes you forget the clock and the cameras too! For the first time ever, we took our SLR out on a trip and came home without shooting any on it. Its hard for me to swallow that.
New Hampshire does that to you. You get to live what you don't see everyday. Many choose to stretch their lazy bones on the sand, either batting their eyelids and soaking up some sun or, flipping a book. But, we went tubing along the river shores where the loons nest. We let the sun shine on our backs. We wallowed and waded through knee deep waters, where the sand and stones make you wiggle your toes and the sun seeps skin deep to stimulate melanin. We ventured into woods and echoed tweets of finches too.
Its the kind of place that makes you want to wake up early to chirping birds and stay up late to the sounds of cicadas. It doesn't matter what hour of the day you are stepping into. There always seems a pause. Where the only other sounds are either the ripples of the meandering Saco river, the sway of tall ferns and chirping of finches. That was our home for those two odd days, all well lived.
When the sun went down to take its customary daily dip, we warmed ourselves by the fire, lit up the grill and ate Quesadillas, Corn on the Cob and drank Sparkling Fruit Mocktails. Brownies followed for the dessert. I baked these Brownies in the morning we left out and took them along for those camping dinner treats. They are wonderful to share in a group where splurging on good food can never seem enough, more so when you are in a gang of ten odd folks who enjoy good food and hearty laughs!
These Brownies are one bowl and simple to make. They are a cross between fudgy and cake-like. While they don't slop, they are intensely chocolaty and rich, much fudge like. They have crackling tops which make them look beautiful. And, no Brownie is good without generous scatter of walnuts. I promise you will love them, as much we all did.
Chewy Fudge Brownies
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate
1 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup of plain flour
1 tbsp of cacao powder
1/2 tsp of instant espresso coffee powder
1/2 cup of broken walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x9” square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. I like to let the edges of the paper hang up a bit on the sides to make it easy for the removal.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chocolate chips and melt them over medium low heat. Once melted remove from heat. Alternatively, you can microwave the butter and chocolate chip on high heat for 1 min. Allow it to rest for 2 mins, then add the sugar, eggs, flour, cacao powder, espresso powder, salt and broken walnuts into the melted chocolate butter mixture. Whisk well together. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, leveling the tops. Bake them for 35-40 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer at the center. The skewer will have flecks, however there should be no wet batter coming out of the baked brownies. Allow them to cool completely and then slice into squares before serving.
I've used cacao powder here. However, you may use cocoa powder and up the quantity to 2 tbsp. Cacao is stronger than cocoa powder, hence you will require more cocoa powder, if being used.