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We all have those thoughts that make us feel a little bit guilty. Starting to realise you don't like your children as people? Confused as to why you daydream about tax evasion and why it turns you on? Contemplating arson as a hobby? I mean, who doesn't!
It's okay, these are all (hopefully) normal thoughts people who can't afford therapy have to process alone. Nobody is perfect and we all have flaws. One of the many ways to combat the overwhelming guilt of being human is keeping busy. You know what they say about idle hands doing the devil's work!
There are many ways to keep busy, especially these days with both technology and Golden Girls re-runs constantly and readily available. I, however, like to throw back to the old ways. The ways of our ancestors: Painting by Numbers with Bob Ross. Needlepoint and Cross Stitch. Accusing your neighbour of witchcraft. Writing erotic fan fiction about Bob Ross.
Let me propose the hobby that trumps all those: Baking. You get absorbed OCD style into the details of the recipe, measurements of ingredients become incredibly important, everything must be followed religiously like some kind of Betty Crocker scripture. You get a lesson in patience as you nap in sweats at midday as it bakes. Then glory of glories, for the finale you get rewarded with a delicious end product that pairs beautifully with whichever Costco wine you opened whilst nervously exclaiming "Well it's five PM somewhere!"
Baking! It truly is the perfect medicine (disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor mentally balanced. Don't take this as fact as it is definitely a lie).
So to start the ball rolling on your new distraction from actual self-improvement, let's start with a classic.
A Diabetes-inducing classic. The perfect marriage of chocolate, flour, butter, and guilt. Some say that ancient tomes refer to brownies as the eighth original sin—the Pope has yet to comment. So as we await a press release from the Vatican here are my top five tips on how to up your Brownie game.
1 - Add booze.
I mean this is my general rule of thumb for any situation but it really helps with brownies. My main recommendation for this is Bourbon. It brings out a really rounded, grown-up flavour, but feel free to experiment. A few heaping spoons of Mama's go-go juice to your batter can really amp up your brownies. Pro tip: When baked, brush the cooling brownies down in that liquor again to really help satiate your booze lust. A real winner for dinner parties or people lacking appropriate coping mechanisms.
2 - Add coffee.
If hitting the ol' booze has the potential to make you loose-lipped and puts you in a place where you admit to having once kissed a first cousin, opt for coffee! Brew a strong cup and just like the liquor, add a shot to your brownie batter. This will also enhance the rich chocolatey flavour. If anything with a trace of caffeine in it gives you the levels of anxiety usually reserved for a small dog hearing the doorbell being rung, decaffeinated is acceptable.
3 - Crusts!
Do you like the crust piece of a brownie? Do you somehow relate to the darkened, hardened, and rough exterior because it reminds you of you? Fantastic! Bake them in a muffin tin! Then all of the brownies will resemble your crusty self! Mini or large muffin tins can be used. End product can also be frozen and used as weapons... I mean, just in case you were wondering!
4 - Spice!
They say variety is the spice of life! So does your husband Greg—at least that's what he said when he proposed trialling an open marriage. Throw in a teaspoon of nutmeg, cinnamon, or cardamom with the same forced smile you wear to the swingers events Greg drags you to. It will enrich the chocolate flavour and add a comforting aroma.
5 - Ice Cream (The Solver of All Problems Except Weight Gain)
When in doubt, Take a scoop of ice cream and cram it between two brownies. Call it a sandwich or something. Crack open another bottle of red and sit in dim lighting whilst Lana Del Rey soundtracks your emotional breakdown. Nothing truly says "I've got a handle on everything" like being drunk with smudged mascara at 5 PM.
Well, there you go, an insight on how to step up your Brownie game. Stay tuned for our next instalment which is Bread. I'll fill you in how to knead out all your repressed childhood rage into the dough.