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Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Malted Buttercream via Relishing It

What should you make for the special people in your life for Valentine’s Day?  I’ve been waiting to answer that question for awhile now.  These cute little brownies are the perfect sweet treats for your loved ones.  I love brownies when I need a chocolate fix.   These, from an earlier post, are always a hit.  They have a perfect balance of chocolate-y chewiness.  And these are fabulous when I’m in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary. But the fudge brownie bites with chocolate malted buttercream that you see here are perfect for turning brownies into an indulgent dessert for Valentine’s Day.  The chocolate malted buttercream is spectacular.

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To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how many batches of these I made this summer.  They’ve become a favorite in our house.  And in the mini-muffin pan, they’re transformed into perfect bite-sized treats.  The brownie is more chewy than cake-like, which is how I prefer them.  The stirred-in chocolate chips add a nice pool of chocolate throughout .  Yes, they’re delicious on their own, but the malted-milk buttercream frosting makes these mini-desserts.

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Malted Buttercream via Relishing It

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Malted Buttercream via Relishing It

I’ll be baking up another batch of these sweets for our Valentine’s Day this year.  We’ve had a tradition for years– even before our little ones were born– of making a nice meal, opening a bottle of wine, and enjoying a candlelight dinner at home.  Now that we have kids, I always look forward to making a meal with them.  In the past we’ve had a nice pasta dish, such as this one.  Heart shaped pizzas would be fun, too.  Though, I’ve been in the mood for seafood lately, so this is also an option.  Whatever we choose to make, I know it will be fun.  Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Malted Buttercream via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Malted Buttercream

(makes an 8×8 square pan or 24 mini-brownie bites)

For the Fudge Brownies:

3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

1/2 cup butter

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (preferably Ghiradelli’s 60% cacao)

For the Chocolate Malted Buttercream: 

(Note: double this buttercream recipe if you enjoy your brownie bites loaded with frosting, such as in the photos.  If you prefer a normal amount, one batch will be fine)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons malted milk powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.  Prepare either an 8×8-inch square pan or a mini-muffin pan with either butter/flour, or a shot of cooking spray with the flour in it.  Set aside.

To make the brownies:  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a microwave for 25 seconds (or you place the bowl of chocolate/butter over a saucepan of steaming water).  Stir and repeat until the chocolate is melted.  Whisk in the brown and granulated sugars, and espresso powder.  Then, mix in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla.  When it is uniform, fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Bake for 25-30 minutes for the 8×8-inch pan or 14-16 minutes for the mini-muffin pan.  A tester inserted should come out clean and the tops of them should be slightly cracked with a bit of color around the edges.  Cool in 8×8-inch pan completely.  Remove the mini-brownies once they have cooled in the pan for about 3 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:  Mix together the cream and malted milk powder.  Set aside.  In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (a hand mixer or your muscles will work, too), cream together the butter, cocoa powder, and salt for about 3 minutes on medium speed.  As always, scrape down the sides of the mixer, as necessary.  Add about 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low to combine.  Add the milk and vanilla and mix.  Slowly add the cream/malted milk mixture while mixing on medium speed.  Mix until it is the consistency you like, add more powdered sugar, if necessary.

Spread frosting onto cooled brownies.  They will keep well for days covered with aluminum foil or in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Joy Wilson’s Joy the Baker Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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If you’ve spent even a small amount of time here, you know that I love cookbooks.  Even on hectic days when my two little ones run me ragged, I try to find time to clear my head with a warm cup of coffee and a few peaceful moments paging through recipes.  So what makes a cookbook ‘good’?  Well, rather than listing page after page of instruction, for me the best cookbooks are like settling in and sharing ideas with a comforting friend.  They have stories wrapped around a theme, emotions that tie the dishes to the author’s life and loved ones, and– obviously– brilliant food.  I want to know the recipes are part of the author’s life, that they’re important enough that she needs to share them.  I want to make them become part of my family’s traditions and story, because that’s really what eating together is about– shared experiences.

One of my favorite cookbook authors is Melissa Clark.  Along with her popular column for the New York Times (A Good Appetite), she has authored or co-authored dozens of fantastic works.  Her cookbook “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” gives you a flavor of her journey to where, and who she is today.  I’ve waxed about her creativity in the kitchen and her way with words in this past post.  Today’s recipe, these decadent brownies, comes from her new book, “Cook This Now”.  In a word, both the brownies and the book are brilliant.  In her latest collection, she shares experiences of her life as both a mother and a wife centered around meals for family and friends.  The book’s format mirrors the seasons– which is how I try to cook.  The individual recipes are varied, creative, and mouth-watering.  I decided to make these brownies first, to share with a friend on his birthday– he loves chocolate and coconut.

I love the coconut/chocolate pairing, and in this recipe they really work together brilliantly.  This is not a normal, cake-like brownie.  Instead, it has a moist fudge-y density and texture that delivers a huge chocolate punch.  And the two layers of coconut add nice subtlety.  The first coconut layer (on top) crisps up beautifully.  The second (baked into the brownies) provides nice textural contrast to the brownie itself.   A sprinkle of fleur de sel on top makes them perfect.   Enjoy them with coffee while reading a good cookbook, or share them with a friend.

The Recipe: Coconut Fudge Brownies

1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil (butter may be substituted, if necessary)

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut  (do not substitute unsweetened, as it will be too dry for the brownies)

Fleur de sel, for sprinkling (kosher salt may be substituted)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, and boiling water together until smooth.   Whisk in the the melted butter and coconut oil.  Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks curdled.  Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla, and whisk until combined.  Whisk in the sugar until fully incorporated.  Add the flour and salt and gently fold with a spatula until just combined.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate pieces.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth in out.  Sprinkle 1 cup of coconut on top of it.  Spread the remaining batter on top of  the coconut.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of coconut on top of that.  Dust with a bit of fleur de sel and bake until a tester inserted into the center of the brownie is just set and shiny, 30-35 minutes.  If you test with a toothpick, it may seem wet, which is fine.   It will solidify as it cools.  It is better to under- bake these brownies, than to over-bake them.  Cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by today!

Laurie

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