I had one prerogative for my trip to the Carmel area. Not to spot Arnold Schwarzenegger perusing the scene at the Concours d’Elegance car show nor to snag a cute car aficionado’s phone number for my depleted collection, but to get and eat a brownie from Carmel Bakery.
A colleague and I stumbled upon the Carmel landmark that has been open since 1906, two years ago when we looking for a place to grab lunch in town. After gorging on pancakes and eggs at a local cafe, we went back to the bakery to order some of their signature salty soft pretzels to snack on later in the day. On a whim, I asked for a brownie, as well. As we drove back to our work site, I couldn’t help sneaking a bite of the dense, chocolate-chip studded bar.
“Oh my gosh!” I gushed, shocked by how good it was. I insisted that my friend try a bite, but then devoured the rest of the oversized brownie myself.
The brownie is the perfect combination of fudgy and cakey – intensely chocolaty, but not in the way that necessitates a gallon of milk to consume. The top is slightly crackly, adding a nice textural contrast to the soft interior that is further enhanced by the addition of mini chocolate chips to the top. It is the best brownie I’ve ever had – really the only bakery brownie I have ever found as irresistible as the ones I make at home.
On this trip, I made it to Carmel Bakery on my first night in town. Even though I had just split a small ice cream sundae with a friend at the Flying Fish Grill, I couldn’t bear to walk by the homey space with its alluring display of baked goodies without going inside. I also couldn’t bear transporting the brownie back to the hotel without ripping open the bag. I had to know if it was as good as I remembered.
As I drove along the dark, tree-lined streets, I surreptitiously stuffed half of the bar into my mouth. It was still the perfect brownie – and was the perfect excuse to eat two desserts.
Ocean Ave & Lincoln
Carmel, CA 93923