I've had some people ask how Sarah's shower was and whether or not I was going to share pictures. In particular, one friend who's been housebound with plaster on her foot. How could I say no to an invalid? So here's a brief recap of the shower, with recipe at the end.
It was a tea party, so we put together a delightful collection of tea pots and cups. One of the tea pots (the one with the flowers) was a wedding present sent all the way from England by my delightful twin from another mother, Melinda.
We had an assortment of teas to choose from. Each guest got to select her own cup and tea. Please pardon the tacky tea bags! I really need someone from England to come show me how it's done properly.
Along with the opera cake (see previous post), we had plenty of food to sustain us through the shower. The hostess provided small tea sandwiches and I brought lemon-glazed madeleines which were a big hit. With their dainty size and zip of citrus, it was hard to stop at one. Good thing there were plenty!
When women gather in groups, it's an unwritten law that there must also be chocolate present. So I made chocolate-glazed brownie bites. These are dense and delicious enough for any chocoholic. The only thing I didn't think through till after I'd made them is that they have an almond flavor to them, which on it's own is nice. But served alongside the opera cake, which was predominantly almond-flavored, it was a bit much. If I had a do-over on this, I'd have left out the almond flavoring and let the brownies just be pure chocolate bliss.
And, of course, there were presents. Lots of presents. And, oddly, most of them were for the kitchen. Hmmm, does everyone who knows her think she's going to become some mad, baking-obsessed woman who lives in the kitchen? I wonder where anyone might get that idea?
There were a couple of non-traditional party games. When we got our name tags they each had two tiny clothes pins on them. If you could make someone say the words dress, wedding, apartment, or Sam, then you could take one of their clothes pins away. The one with the most clothes pins at the end of the shower got a prize. I lost my clothes pins almost immediately.
If I'd been allowed to play, I would have done much better at the next game. It was a video of Sam posing a string of true or false questions about The Relationship of Sarah and Sam. There were some tricky questions, but I would have aced it.
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and Sarah was happy to have so many friends come to shower her with love.
Chocolate Toffee Brownie Bites
- adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle
Makes 24 brownie bites
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup almond brickle chips
1- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg. F. Using either a 24 cup mini-muffin pan or two 12 cup pans, grease them well and dust them with flour.
2- In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, combine the butter and chocolate and heat: stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cool until tepid.
3- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Stir to make sure it's well combined.
4- Stir the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until blended.
5 - Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling them 2/3 full. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until set but still soft in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. With brownies a clean toothpick means overbaked, dry, hard brownies. Not good. Let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the brownies onto the rack, removing them from the pan, and cool completely.
6 - In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the chocolate, cream, and corn syrup and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the brickle bits.
7 - Place the rack with the brownies on it over a baking sheet. Arrange the brownies, still inverted, so that they are no more than 1/4 inch apart. Pour the glaze over the bites, covering the tops and sides. Use a small offset metal spatula to smooth glaze over any exposed spots. Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.