A Stress-Free Indulgence

Make-ahead: a term that ANY host loves to see in a recipe. No stress, no mess – just the simple task of cutting or baking, and you’re done. Desserts, thankfully, often fall within this category (an exception would include bananas foster, but those are sooo worth the added effort). Avoiding the use of an oven at a party is alway a great idea – you don’t want a bunch of sweaty, hungry guests…trust me, it’s not a pretty picture. So when I discovered these Lime Meltaways and Supernatural Brownies, I all but jumped at the opportunity to make them…and trust me when I say that my friends all but jumped onto the plates these were served upon.
Let’s talk chocolate for a moment – there are few things more beautiful than a 9×11 block of dense, fudgy brownies. This recipe is a true winner – two types of sugar create a moist texture, while melted bittersweet chocolate permeates the batter with a rich and palpable taste. The recipe for these had gone “blog viral” – in other words, a number of baking blogs and recipe platforms had showcased these, with endless praises; I decided to take the hint and give these a shot.
The baked result has a delicate crust, beneath which is the gorgeously tender brownie. Surprisingly, they don’t have the typical dark hue common to brownies – they are somewhat lighter, but trust me when I say the flavor has just as much depth. While these do take a while to bake, it is absolutely crucial to NOT overbake these – nothing is worst than a chalky brownie :-/ Click HERE to see the recipe for these showstopping treats!
If I had to list my favorite type of cookie, it would have to be shortbread: not too sweet, with a buttery crunch that never fails to make you “melt.” These cookies were just that – lime + sugar = awesome. The best thing about this cookie is that once you roll the dough into a “log,” it can refrigerated up to a week or frozen for up to three months! This gives a major boost to the convenience and flavor of these cookies. You can find the recipe for these zesty treat HERE.
For the musical pairing, I thought it would be nice to showcase a minimalist work (given the simplicity of prep work). Yet their flavors and overall complexities demanded something more, and that led me to John Adams. He is defined as a minimalist composer, yet he is constantly exploring the limits to which he can take the genre, leading some to go so far as calling his music “maximalist”. The piece I chose is his work for piano called Phyrigan Gates – the title refers to the fact that the piece is composed in the Phyrigan mode, with the “gates” alluding to the constant shifts from Lydian to Phrygian (while moving in line with the circle of fifths). The below image illustrates the Phyrgian mode on C:

At the same time, I felt the music to be aesthetically appropriate – the modal shifts present a wealth of flavors, yet it’s complexity is never overbearing. It is one of those pieces you can imagine listening to on rainy day with your eyes closed, savoring each moment as though it were a delicious treat. The following video is with Gloria Cheng-Cochran (it has been separated into three separate videos by YouTube, so this is only part of the work – I have included links for the second and third installments below the embedded video.) Enjoy!

Part II
Part III

Sources Cited:
“Phrygian Gates,” Wikipedia.com

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