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Monday, June 18


Every country has its own quirks, given that we’ve learned what makes Germany unique.   In USA, shoes and clothing are required to get service.  In India, overtaking a car on a single lane highway is normal, sometimes even encouraged, at the risk of your life and safety.
In Germany, grocery baggers do not exist.  I am referring to the people that bag groceries after purchase.  Here, when we go to a grocery store for basic supplies, i.e. laundry detergent or toothpaste, we have to pay and bag the stuff as quickly as possible.  That doesn’t sound too complicated but it is.  When the cashier is done scanning all the items I have to make sure I have the right amount to pay and ensure all my stuff makes it into my bag before the next person’s groceries are scanned.   Germans hate waiting so if counting coins for the correct change takes extra time people roll their eyes.  Thankfully, stores designate an area by the exit for customers to have ample space and time to organize their purchases.  But by that point I am so annoyed from being pushed out of the line I leave without arranging my things.  In this case it is accurate, Germans are very too efficient. 

And talking on the phone while checking out is frowned upon.  Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson.

Though we applaud stores charging for plastic (.15 cents) and paper (.10 cents) bags; it compels customers to bring their own.  With so much wastage in the world, saving on plastic and paper is prudent.  (Many customers, I’d estimate 75%, still buy bags; I haven’t figured out why yet.)

To put some of the ingredients  butter I’d bought to good use I made these brownies.  They’re rich and very chocolatey so if you’re not a fan, use semisweet chocolate. 

Adapted from Joy of Baking

5 ounces or 150 grams dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup or 113 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons or 15 grams cocoa powder
1 cup or 200 grams granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup or 95 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 125 grams walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F or 180 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven.

Butter an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and walnuts.

Pour into the buttered pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 16 or 9 large (if you’re feeling indulgent) brownies

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