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Brownies. It’s a powerful word sure to bring up the fondest memories of childhood. Or, in my case, adulthood. I adore brownies. In my lifetime, I have eaten more brownies than Oreos.

Can you say that? Ah, well, now you just might be able to. A little new brownie book is coming to your bookstore and online shopping venue: The Brownie Diaries by Leah Hyslop. It’s delicious and quite surprising.

The surprise? So many ideas that may not have crossed your mind. Or your mouth. Don’t worry, the standard fare is here, dressed up in perfected form:

  • Ultimate Fudgy Brownies: the first recipe in the book, and using a mere 4 eggs
  • Triple Chocolate Brownies: dark, white, and milk PLUS cocoa powder
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondies: white chocolate and brown sugar

Brownie fans do tend to have favorites: that fudge versus cake debate. And it is true that when you have a favorite brownie recipe, doing something different may seem a culinary heresy. The Brownie Diaries will invite you to sin. And when you do, you are going to salivate and smile. Consider these “unconventional” and quite surprising ideas:

  • Friday Night Brownies: red wine in the batter, red cherries top of dark and milk chocolate ganache
  • Fancy a Bite: stout in the batter and cream cheese frosting on top
  • I Don’t Have Any Chocolate: cocoa and instant coffee instead
  • Help, I’ve Got a Hangover: bacon and maple syrup plus a maple syrup glaze
  • All Grown Up: raisins and Pedro Ximenez sherry and almonds [oh, yes dark chocolate and cocoa]

When you pick up this book, you’ll start turning pages and begin wondering what on earth is coming next. And then you’ll smile and then you’ll probably bake.

I’ve made the I Don’t Have Any Chocolate and was most happy: cocoa makes for a sublime flavor. They did not last 24 hours in my house and my wife swears she just ate one.  If she had more, I can’t blame her.

Did you ever make Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, balls of dough dusted in powder sugar and baked until they crackle/crinkle? Well there is a Cracked Brownie Cookie here where the powdered sugar is replaced by granulated sugar. You’ll still make a mess when you eat them, but you won’t mind.

There are four chapters in the book:

  • Brownies for Everyday
  • Brownies for Comfort
  • Brownies for Celebration
  • Brownies (Sort Of)

What is a Sort Of brownie? How about an Eaten Mess Blondie Sundae. An Eaton Mess is a British Dessert that cannot be improved upon. Except it can. Here you crumble those Gentlemen Prefer Blondies with meringue, ice cream and strawberries. You’ll need an ice cream sundae dish and a long spoon. And perhaps a long time.

Start with any chapter, any recipe, and just meander. The recipes are well written, easy to execute and quickly prepared. Probably quickly eaten, too.

My wife Suzen and I collect cookbooks. We have a dessert section. We have cookie section inside that one.  And we have a brownie section on its own shelf. And now we have this proud new addition. It’s not going on that shelf just yet. No, there are a dozen more ideas to make here. When you have your copy of The Brownie Diaries, you’ll understand and agree.