I have found that New Yorkers are really social. People who live in the city offer to host dinner parties/get-togethers/general hanging out in their homes all the time. Especially in the winter when the local bar or restaurant is too far to travel because your ears my fall off from frostbite. It turns out ear muffs were not just something that looked cute on me when I was six-years-old. They actually serve a purpose.
The willingness to host guests for an evening of fun in one’s apartment is fascinating to me because everyone who lives here (correction, everyone with whom I associate) has either A) an incredibly small apartment or B) random nooks and crannies that would deem a dinner party impossible to accommodate in one room leaving someone sitting by themselves in the bathroom because that is the only seat available. Or both. These two are not mutually exclusive.
Nevertheless, people are still willing to open their hearts and homes on a snowy Friday night to hang out and that is where we found ourselves last night. Two of my neighbors and I thought we should host a progressive dinner party in an effort to hang out with our fellow 33 West 89ers. The plan was to start on the second floor for appetizers, head to the fourth floor for empanadas and hit up the fifth floor for dessert (this was my contribution, naturally). Once I got over the fear of letting ten people into our miniscule living room (complete with floor maps of what the most efficient seating arrangement would look like), I was ready. As we all gathered on the second floor and mingled with our neighbors, we realized we should just bring the food there instead of moving herds of folks up three extra flights of stairs after gorging on wine and cheese. And that is what we did. We brought the progression to them. And it was lovely.
My contribution included cupcakes (to be revealed on a later post) and these brownies from the popular Fat Witch Bakery in Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market has long been one of my favorite spots in NYC. When I would visit Robbie here (pre-Robbie-in-London, pre-law-school, pre-marriage), we made it a point to stop in and peruse the shops. In the five years since, it has become much more of a tourist attraction (can’t say I blame them) with a random Anthropologie thrown in the mix of local bakeries and vendors. They were a hit last night, even with some unintentional extra chocolatey-ness. (I added 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate instead of ½ cup. Oops.)
These are best eaten the same night (or soon after) unless you can find a way to keep them as airtight as possible. There’s a reason Fat Witch Bakery individually wraps their brownies with tight cellophane. I will say, though, that they are still their crumbly, chocolate deliciousness on a Saturday morning with one’s cup of coffee. Just saying.
Fat Witch Brownies
Adapted from Fat Witch Brownies – The Cookbook
14 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup bittersweet chocolate (The original recipe calls for ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips but I used a bar of bittersweet chocolate and chopped it up until I had a cup. So I broke the rules twice.)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
Pinch of Salt
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring often. Set aside to cool once they have melded into each other. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. Cream the sugar, eggs and vanilla together. This can be done by hand, no need to break out the mixer. With a whisk, mix with some hearty elbow grease until it is a light yellow color and well-incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until blended. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined and you see no more dry ingredients in the batter. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 33 minutes. (I left mine for 36 minutes. This is what happens when my timer breaks and I convince myself I can just remember that I have brownies in the oven and should check back in 33 minutes.) Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour. They are much easier to cut if you wait this hour although I know it will be tempting to dive right in.