It’s the most awful time of the year. Nope, not talking about Thanksgiving, because I love Thanksgiving. Not talking about Christmas, I love Christmas. Not talking about fall, winter etc. I’m talking about shopping season.
I’m not against shopping as a whole, I just dread this time of year when everyone is shopping all at once, and sometimes being kinda dickish about it. That said, I’ll admit, I can get flustered over things that might seem trivial to others.
For example… SERIOUSLY?!? How long are we sitting here behind you while you wait for that car to pull out of a parking space?!? Or even better… DUDE!!! I can’t back out of this spot you want so badly when you don’t leave me any room to back out!!
I’ll admit, when I see cars stalking me for my parking space, I take my sweet time getting ready and leaving. Even better is when I’m just dropping bags in the car to go back in. I take a little sweet twisted pleasure in that one. If you wan’t a spot next to the door you should have been here when the mall opened buddy.
Or what about… Um, excuse me, there’s one line here that feeds to all the cashiers. Yeah, you basically just gave us all a giant middle finger when you got in line behind someone checking out right now… because surely we’re all just retarded…over here… in this one GIANT line…
Speaking of lines… BACK THE FUCK UP! Breathing down my neck in a check out line is like standing next to the hostess at a restaurant after you put your name on the wait list: you’re not going to get a table any faster.
Oh salesperson… you don’t even WANT to know what curses are flashing through my mind when you become the eighth person to ask me if I want to open a store credit card. Let my eyes do the talking. They say ‘I know you’re required to ask me this question, but that also means you should let it slide when I say no thank you.’ What? Am I sure I don’t want to save 15%? As sure as I want to stab myself in the eye right now.
Can you see why this is so stressful? It’s exhausting really, oftentimes after the headache kicks in I start longing for Starbucks only to find the line is 20 people long!!!! AHHHHHH!
But you can’t argue that there are great deals. It’s one of the few times of the year the clearance racks are at the front of the store. Yes, those awesome clearance racks that are so stuffed you can’t even move the hangers to see what this blue something, plaid what-not is. And that’s when I leave.
Or at least I would leave… but a family of five has come to a dead stop outside the store barricading me in while they debate which direction they were headed in when they entered the store and which way Macy’s is… MOVE!!
It honestly feels like a prison break when I’m done. It’s a sense of disbelieve and freedom when I hit the interstate on-ramp. It feels like I got away with something and might any moment be caught.
If anything, I did get away with not becoming a YouTube star for having a colossal meltdown in the Apple Store.
And then I get home and reward myself with brownies.
I soothe the pain, forget the horrors and unwind with brownies that look like those Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. In full disclosure, I have to say I don’t think these really do taste like Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, but they certainly look the part. The texture of the brownie is correct – somewhere between fudgey and cakey – but the flavor is a very rich, decidant chocolate, not child’s play store brownies. Also, the ganache isn’t as thick and plastic-like. I’m going to chalk both of those up to lack of preservatives.
Still, these are excellent brownies that are super easy and look adorably perfect.
Copycat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies
by Averie Cooks
For the Brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons coffee or water (I used water)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark, which probably explains the dark color and richness)
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules or espresso powder (optional)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the Ganache
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream (I used half-and-half)
1 cup M&M minis or sprinkles
Preaheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds on high power. Add the eggs, sugars, coffee (or water), vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the cocoa powder, instant espresso, and whisk until incorporated and void of lumps. Add the flour and stir until it’s just incorporated; don’t over mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes, or until top has just set, isn’t jiggly in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Allow brownies to cool in pan while you make the ganache.
Place chocolate chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chips. They won’t melt all the way, but that’s okay.
Heat cream in a glass measuring cupl until it begins to bubble and show signs of just beginning to boiling. Mine took just over a minute on high power. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Beat the chocolate and cream mixture until silky smooth, and combined. If your mixture isn’t smoothing out, heat in 15-second bursts in the microwaves until it can be stirred smooth.
Pour ganache over mostly cooled brownies (they don’t have to be completely cooled, but give them at least 30 min). Smooth ganache lightly with a spatula or knife.
Evenly sprinkle with M&Ms or sprinkles. Cover pan with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ganache sets up before slicing and serving, at least 2 hours. Do not slice into them until the ganache has set. I made mine the night before and sliced in the AM before packing to take to a tailgate. I do prefer these when the ganache is a bit chilled as opposed to room temperature.