I baked them pretty much as the direction stated, except maybe I didn't let my eggs come completely to room temperature. And instead of espresso, I used instant coffee that I had bought a while back for something else but had apparently forgotten what it was for since I still had it in my pantry. I used Dutch-processed cocoa powder (more expensive than say, Hershey's, for example, but well-worth it for its absence of lumps, finer texture, and much darker color). I used Ghiradelli's 60% cacao chocolate pieces, which melted very smoothly with the butter. I don't think the eggs made a difference, although I think if they had been colder, it probably would have made the chocolate/butter/sugar mixture firm up when I added them. The coffee, on the other hand, gave them a little bitter taste, which no one mentioned (I offered them to friends we had over for dinner as well as several colleagues at work the next day). If I had espresso powder, I might try it to see if it makes a difference, but since I usually don't, I think I'll leave it (and the coffee) out next time. I baked mine for exactly 30 minutes--I was a little paranoid about overbaking it--and that resulted in a brownie that was very smooth, rich, and light in texture without being cakey (which I think the recipe wanted you to avoid). It was quite tasty with vanilla ice cream, especially when it still had a little warmth left in them. Everyone who tried them agreed that it was a very good brownie; unfortunately, no one thought it was the best brownie that they had ever had. Greg and I thought they were pretty good (after all, the picture above on the awesome Ikea kids' plate were the last 2 pieces left) but we wouldn't call them the best or our favorite necessarily. That said, I'd probably keep them in rotation with my other brownie recipes.
And onto the questions...
Do you have any pet peeves?
Who doesn't? But at the top of my list are people who smoke downtown right outside of office buildings...because who doesn't want to be smacked in the face with a big nasty cloud of smoke just as they are walking out of a building?
Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook?I like to dabble in a lot of different things...but the more consistent things are that I tend to quilt, sew and knit in the winter; do papercrafts (cards, scrapbooks) throughout the year; and garden, can fruits and make jams in the summer.
What is your favorite summer activity?
Going on vacation...I love a good road trip. I love to go pick fruit with my kids--we have been picking peaches (and canning them) for a few years now and we started picking blueberries and raspberries last year. This year, we picked pears and those were super tasty. I love to see them eat a huge peach with juices running down their front and eating berries by the handfuls. It makes me feel better about those occasional not-so-good eating days.
Are you a morning or a night person?
Motherhood has forced me to be more functional in the mornings, but I've always been a late-nighter. The worst is when I stay up way too late and my kids wake up way too early.
Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer?Definitely the lie-on-the-beach-all-day. I don't like going on vacation and coming home feeling like I need a vacation.
What is your favorite store?For most things, probably Target, although I find a lot of useful things at Costco these days.
What is your favorite beverage?Ooh, Diet Coke. Icy cold.
If you had to go back to school, what would your major be?
It depends on what I wanted to do, I guess. I was a Political Science major at U of C and I totally loved it. I guess the question for me would be, would I go to law school again? Probably, although I might re-think litigation. It's not particularly family-friendly. I'm taking a mediation course at Northwestern this fall because I really enjoyed doing mediations in law school. Last fall, I really wanted to go to pastry school. But maybe it was just because I was 3 months post-partum, sleep-deprived, and hormonal.