Yield: one 8-inch square pan
“Back to Baking”, pp. 56
As a new fresh year begins, leaving behind us a year full of challenges and difficulties, it is hopefully time to turn the page and learn from our mistakes as a collective. Whether it is good news or bad, I have always found joy or solace in baking. So I return once more to my trusty cookbook, which has now seen better days. It is very well-loved, to say the least. In an attempt to balance my love of baking and the fact that I am, in this current situation, mostly baking for one, I have decided to try making a recipe from “Back to Baking” once every two weeks. This way, I should not be wasting any dessert that I cannot eat by myself or freeze, but I can still bake enough (is is ever enough?) to satisfy my baking itch. Let’s try this for the new year!
This is another one of those recipes in the cookbook that did not speak to me. The combination of ingredients just seemed too extravagant, even for me: chocolate, cranberries, coconut and marshmallows all in one! Seemed a bit… much. However, I just so happened to have a little bit of dried cranberries leftover from another recipe, some sweetened coconut from tres leches and many marshmallows as I use them to spice up my hot chocolates, so I figured now was as good a time as any to make these funky brownies. They were definitely enjoyable to make. Melting chocolate and butter together, mixing in the eggs and dry ingredients, and most of all folding in all the interesting toppings was fun and even calming.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 oz (90 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 oz (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut
- ½ cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then drained
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
I hadn’t made brownies in a very long time, nor had I eaten any in years. I’m not too sure why, because I love brownies with their gooey center and rich chocolate flavour. I guess it’s just never something I found myself wanting to make at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, I do remember that brownies that are not gooey in the middle are frowned upon and so I hoped that I would manage to bake them adequately. Fortunately, at first glance they came out with the expected cracked top, which I found encouraging, and the sight of baked marshmallows coming out of every hole was delightful.
These brownies were actually supremely tasty. Most definitely very gooey, which I was very happy with, and also of course that traditional rich chocolate taste. To my surprise and pleasure, the unusual additions to the mix, coconut, marshmallows and dried cranberries, worked very well. The flaked coconut provided a nice texture and crunch, the marshmallows imparted some nice chew and extra sweetness, which was very well counter-balanced by the slightly tart dried cranberries. At the first bite I was hesitant but open-minded, and now I am simply looking forward to the moment in the day that I will enjoy and devour them. They are that good and I will definitely eat the whole pan my myself. I definitely recommend making these, especially if you like bars, cookies or cakes fully loaded with extra goodness!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line it with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the sides slightly.
- I only had a round pan in the moment, and this worked just as well.
- In a small saucepot, melt together the butter and bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates over low heat, mixing constantly.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sugar.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and stir this in the chocolate mixture. Mix well to combine.
- Fold in the coconut, dried cranberries and marshmallows. Ensure that everything is coated well with the brownie mix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the brownies comes out clean and the top is slightly cracked. Cool the brownies in the pan before removing them to slice.
Notes from Anna:
- It is very important to use room temperature eggs when making brownies. Otherwise, cold eggs can cool the melted chocolate, making it seize, which will result in a dry, crumbly brownie. Very undesirable indeed.