When I look through a new cookbook, there are some recipes I know I will never try. Usually it has to do with procuring obscure ingredients, which is a real bugbear of mine. But oftentimes it is because I know I already have a fantastic recipe that cannot be improved upon. Why mess with success?
A short list of foods that I feel that way about include chocolate chip cookies, pizza, meatballs, tomato sauce, apple pie and brownies. The brownie recipe, in particular, has the most interesting name: The Best and Only Thing I Ever Received From My Ex-Sister-In-Law.
So when I saw this recipe, I quickly turned the page, thinking of my “The Best and Only Thing I Ever Received From My Ex-Sister-In-Law” brownie recipe. But something about it made me go back and read it again. I was intrigued by the use of the rye flour, which might be a slightly obscure ingredient, but one I could easily source via my local health food store, Waitrose or Ocado.
“Why not live a little and give it a go?” I thought to myself. I bought the wholemeal rye flour, took out my mixing bowls and began the experiment.
The wholemeal rye flour was really the only departure in this recipe. The rest of the method (aside from having to weigh the eggs, which I’ve never done in a brownie recipe before) seemed to be the same way, or thereabouts, that I’ve always made brownies.
I may have been skeptical about the wholemeal rye flour when I started out, but I certainly didn’t feel that way by the time I bit into the finished product. I thought rye flour would taste odd, but in actual fact, it gave the brownie a slightly nutty taste, without having to chop any nuts.
However, it might have been too far a departure for the boys. The adults loved the brownies, and couldn’t taste a huge departure from the normal ones, but the boys were not so sure. Andrew (age 16) liked them, but didn’t love them. Nicholas (age 12) did not like them at all and didn’t even finish his. Though I’m wondering if I had to failed to mention that I used a different flour, he might not have noticed.
The moral of the story for me, at least, is this: Sometimes it’s good to cast aside your old favourite and try something new. Even if it is the only thing you ever received from your ex-sister-in-law.
If you’d like to try these yourself, the New York Times has the recipe in its Cooking pages. Click through this paragraph to read it yourself.