The Journey" and just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it epitomizes the friends we meet along the way in life to help us through the good, but also the bad times we may encounter. I know, without doubt, my friends have shown me courage to look forward again, knowledge that memories of our loved ones will sustain us, and most of all, love that has truly warmed my heart where the void of loss once was.
In addition to Eileen's unique suitcase, I used a paper collection called The Magic of Oz by Graphic 45--their perfect gingham paper for Dorothy's suitcase and the colorful character cards that surround the sides of the box adds to the story. However, I bet, like me, your eye is drawn to the most perfect ruby slipper at the very top that acts as a vessel to hold my paper poppies. Another dear friend I've met in this business and who happens to also live here in the Pacific Northwest is Ellen Hutson. She has an online craft store, but is also a designer and when I showed her my drawing of what I wanted to do, she painstakingly came up with a ruby slipper done in a canvas self-adhesive paper and glitz up with an ultra fine red glitter. I wish you could see this in person because after viewing The Wizard of Oz last Saturday evening on TBS, I can tell you this miniature version is very accurate...but then, Ellen wouldn't have done anything less!
The brownies, I've come up with to accompany this project, have a bright green center to symbolize The Emerald City, where Dorothy and her friends go to seek the help of The Wizard and happens to be the nickname of Seattle, where I live. I've added a little bit of peppermint oil that makes you think you're eating either a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie or an Andes Mint, then, topped it off with a bittersweet glaze to seal this scrumptious dessert that makes any rainy day bearable!
Emerald City Brownies
3/4 cup (12T) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided)
6 large eggs, separate the yolks and whites
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 T Vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 1T Queen Guinevere cake flour
1/2 cup +1T Dutch-processed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325F-degrees. 13" x 9" baking pan--line with aluminum foil, brushed with melted butter. If you happen to have a springform 13" x 9" baking pan, like me, I brushed it with melted butter, lined the bottom with parchment paper, then, buttered again.
In a medium sauce pan, on med/low heat, melt the unsalted butter. Remove from the heat and add the 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Separate the eggs--place whites in a bowl of a stand mixer and use a whisk attachment to beat. Lightly whisk the yolks, then add to the chocolate/butter mixture. Add 3/4 cup sugar and the vanilla extract, beat to combine.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks forms. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until stiff and glossy.
I know this seems strange to separate the eggs, but here's my reasoning. I prefer fudgy brownies, but sometimes, when I want a brownie that I'm going to top with other layers, I need a good foundation that a cake brownie provides. However, I still want a moist, light brownie, and this step gives me that!
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Peppermint White Chocolate Ganache
2 (8.82 oz) bars Valrhona Blanc, chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. peppermint oil
2 drops of blue and yellow food color
3 drops of green
3 T unsalted butter, soften to room temperature
In a "make-shift" double boiler, mix the white chocolate and heavy cream. Heat over med/low heat, whisking to combine completely. Remove from the heat and add the peppermint oil. Stir to combine.
Using the whisk, add the unsalted butter, one-tablespoon at a time.
Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze:
2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips
2 T Light Karo syrup
In a double boiler, mix the chocolate chips and Karo syrup. Once the chocolate melts completely, remove brownies from the refrigerator and pour the glaze on top. Use an off-set spatula to spread over the ganache. Return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting.
Count your life by smiles,
Count your age by friends,
Tomorrow is my birthday and This Journey has made me realize how blessed I am to have friends. Love to all. Enjoy!