Hey over there! So, is it feeling a little like the calm before the storm over where you are? Literally, the world, after you stop looking at the news and Facebook and breath some of that outside air seems a little quieter and calmer. Maybe it’s just me. Entirely possible. Walking around town yesterday morning with a thick mist hanging over everything sounded just the same as when snow starts coming down in earnest, and when you go outside and shut the door behind you and just stand… well it sounded just like that.

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Processed with VSCO

It won’t last for long, so if you’re feeling it too, drink it in and keep it stored for when the holiday rush toward whatever comes.
It is National Brownie Day, and it is no accident that the goodies pictured here are so dark. They are the deepest, richest, darkest brownies I have in my collection. I kind of love them.
If you are not 100% familiar with pain d’epices, think of it as the French version of gingerbread. Not the cookie, either, but an actual slice-able loaf of deeply spiced yumminess.
The brownie version I have for you today gets its flavor from all of the spices typically found in pain d’epices- cinnamon, cardamon, honey, rye flour and from extra-dark cocoa powder, and I am unabashedly borrowing a few ingredient proportions from this NYTimes/Violet Bakery recipe, here.

Pain d’Epices Brownies

11 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped small
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped small
1 1/2 c. dark rye flour
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cardamon
1/4 tsp. ground anise
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 9″ x 13″ sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.


Melt the butter and both chocolates in a bowl set over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and keep warm.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and all of the spices together and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, and orange peel. Whisk vigorously to combine.
Pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk/fold to combine completely.
Sift the dry ingredients once more, on top of the chocolate mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold the ingredients together until just combined.
Pour into the paper-lined pan and smooth the top.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the edges are set and the middle is very soft under a dry surface, about 15-18 minutes.
Cool to room temperature before cutting into pieces, then sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and eat with reckless abandon.

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