Most recently, I keep thinking of the air between the mountains in Asheville. The last time I went was over three years ago. My mother had flown in to meet me in Atlanta on Christmas Day after my shift was over and we drove through back roads to get there. All of that, to eat sushi together on the big day and wander around on all the others.
On that particular visit, I discovered that French Broad Chocolates had moved from its previous perch. I remember that moment.
We were emerging from tapas, full of butternut squash soup. I received the last text message I would ever receive, ever, from the person I really loved back then. He told me to travel safely, and I wondered if we would ever traverse the wall that had risen suddenly and painfully. [spoiler alert: nope.]
Anyway, this matters because I remember looking up from my phone and my disappointment and my uncertainty about how to even respond and…I gasped. French Broad was just in front of me.
Its new home is beautiful, friends. Or, at least, those few years ago, I found it to be so. I suppose it isn’t so new anymore.
Every trip to Asheville I have ever taken has involved French Broad drinking chocolates and truffles. One time, perhaps my first visit ever, when they were in the old building off the beaten path with its hidden sign–I snuck one of their macaroon brownies to the movie theater down the street.
And, wouldn’t you know, I have meant to make my own version of that brownie I broke the rules for all. this. time.
This is to say, I looked in the cupboard recently, and I realized–I finally have all the things I need, years later. This was not planned.
I made extra macaroon filling (with mini chips and two types of coconut) to ooze out the middle, and to brown into toasty on top.
One Year: Chocolate Creme Fraiche Cake
Two Years: Atlantic Beach Pie
Three Years: The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
Four Years: Toasted Marshmallow Crispy Treats
Five Years: Spaghetti with Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Six Years: Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Toffee, Marshmallow, and Smoked Sea Salt
Makes 9-16 squares
2 cups coconut flakes
2 cups coconut shavings
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine both types of coconut and chocolate chips. Pour in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, stirring to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8x2 square pan with parchment paper. Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in butter, then eggs, one at a time. Whisk in vanilla. Stir in flour. Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Top with half the macaroon filling, spreading evenly. Pour the rest of the brownie batter on top, spreading gently to the edges. Top with dollops of macaroon filling. Bake 45-55 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick comes out clean with moist crumbs attach. Let cool completely in pan before slicing and serving.