February 21, 2011, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Chocolate, Desserts | Tags: , ,

I’m fairly confident to state that everyone wants to be the best at something.  I could not imagine wanting to settle for second best or even average.  I’m not so confident as to why some seek that stardom.  For some, it’s solely financial while for others it’s the pure enjoyment in the subject matter and for others its the enjoyment of the competitive spirit of the pursuit of being the best.  Regardless of the motivation, it’s really important.  Our inherent desire to be the best is why scientific discoveries are made, lives are saved, excellent works of literature, theater and film are created, important laws are written and enacted, and great restaurants and food is made.  Without this desire and it’s subsequent product, we would most likely live in futility and eventually waste away into nonexistence.  This seems a bit harsh, but must hold some truth.  Philadelphia was recently recognized for a few of its culinary-related “bests,” including receiving numerous James Beard Award nominations in multiple categories, having one of the best public markets in the nation and even receiving recognition in the New York Times for it’s great dining scene.

This post shares what my neighbor, Ashley Cohen, calls the “best” brownies she has ever tasted.  Specifically, she said they were “astoundingly,  dangerously good.”  She enjoyed them so much she bugged me for a couple more and even considered returning from a dinner so that she could pick them up (she was afraid someone else would eat them if she did not do so).

Grasshoppers (Recipe from Baked Explorations)

I made these grasshoppers as a birthday treat for friend and fellow research coordinator, Laurie Doghramji, who works at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (which according to some is one of the “best” hospitals in the country…insert eye roll here).

The grasshoppers present with a very professional final look even after contributing an effort that errs on the side of Betty Crocker boxed brownies.  I realize I sound like a broken record, but this is a simple recipe.  To simplify the directions: 1. make brownie layer 2. make mint layer 3. make chocolate ganache layer.  In the future I might increase the mint layer by 50% and I will always cut the brownies when they are chilled.  Doing so avoids adding brownie crumbs to the mint layer which maintains that clean, professional look.