It’s a really good idea to follow your dreams. Especially when they involve tea. Especially when that tea is used to infuse dried figs with bergamot. Especially when those bergamot-infused figs get plopped into white chocolate brownie batter smattered with dark chunks of bittersweet chocolate.
Wait, was I supposed to write something inspirational about, like, accomplishments and junk? Yikes, and I wrote about brownies instead. I QUIT.
Just kidding, dream realization abounds. It was really cool, because I threw out my old journal recently and bought a new one, and I got to see what that kind of looks like; since I write poems and random ukulele song lyrics, I sorted through the things I’ve been writing for the last year and a half. I had wanted to get a new journal for a while (new starts, etc.), but I kept waiting because of the lists I’d made of things I wanted to accomplish, and I thought maybe I hadn’t done those things just yet.
…Looking through it now-while, of course, using the power of interpretation-it became clear that I had totally gone about realizing some points on those lists. Proud mama.
But I guess, maybe, I’d also like to point out that that doesn’t always matter. Just because you meant something however long ago doesn’t mean that it still has to apply to you now, and sometimes it really doesn’t matter if you didn’t accomplish what you set about however long ago. I think the most important part is recognizing when you have or have not been an active participant in your own life. If the answer is, ‘YES, KELSEY. I TOTALLY HAVE!” then I don’t care what that looks like, because that is awesome, and I’d probably point out that you and I deserve a YAS QUEEN and a brownie. And what perfect timing, because I made these babies, and they are delicious (of the four-letter-word variety).
White Chocolate Brownies with Earl-Grey Soaked Figs and Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks
Makes 16 Brownies
6 oz hot water
3 earl grey tea bags
1/2 cup (roughly 6-8) dried black mission figs, chopped 1/4-inch thick
6 oz white chocolate, in chips or chunks
8 tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate (must try: Scharffen Berger)
To Serve: additional sea salt (my favorites: Maldon and fleur de sel), for sprinkling
In a mug, steep earl grey tea bags according to package instructions (note: steeping for longer than this will cause the tea to become bitter), then remove tea bags. Allow figs to soak in tea up to 3 hours (minimum 45 minutes), then strain and reserve figs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Using a double boiler, melt white chocolate and butter over simmering water, stirring occasionally to combine. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Stir in white chocolate mixture until just combined, then add eggs one at a time, stirring in until just combined. Stir in figs and chocolate chunks. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, gently spreading to the edges with a spatula. Sprinkle with desired sea salt and bake 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean, with moist crumbles attached. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing and allowing to cool completely on rack. Brownies are best served at room temperature, and will last up to five days when stored in an airtight container.