The Sweet Life in San Antonio
The Sweet Life in San AntonioOctober 8, 2012
San Antonio may be the country’s seventh largest city, but many of its neighborhoods possess charm and familiarity associated with small town living. Families stick around for generations. Businesses with connections to the community thrive. And the city continues to grow—at lightning speed—without the world paying much attention.
When Elizabeth Chambers—journalist, actress, and wife of actor Armie Hammer (you might recognize him as the Winklevoss twins from Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network)—decided to open a bakery, fond memories tugged her back to San Antonio, where she was born and where her late grandmother ran a catering company. Now operating BIRD Bakery in the city's Alamo Heights district, Chambers pays homage to her family with baked goods born out of family recipes (and she shares the recipe for their fudgy brownies below).
Chambers says that BIRD is her and Hammer’s “baby.” Speaking about their vision for the cozy eatery, Chambers says, “We are committed to making it the very best it can be. Every single recipe on the menu, every beam in the ceiling, every light fixture, the counters, the books...have our fingerprints all over them."
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted Plugra butter; more softened butter for the pan
3½ oz. White Lily Flour; more for the pan
2 cups C&H fine baking sugar
½ cup of powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
4 large eggs, room temperature
¾ tsp Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
¾ cup unsweetened (non-dutched) Callebaut cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp table salt
Powdered sugar, optional
Heat oven to 350°F, and position rack to center. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square metal baking pan, tapping out excess flour.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat. Using a whisk, add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Stir vigorously for one minute or until batter is smooth.
Spread batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing it so it fills the pan evenly. Bake approximately 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Once cooled, cut into 16 squares. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Millie Kerr is a freelance writer, wildlife conservationist, and former attorney based in Manhattan.