Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brownie Fantasy Bars


I got a new baking book -- A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. I must have flipped through it a dozen times looking at all the recipes I wanted to try, and there are a lot of recipes I want to try. I started a list of just the recipes I might do this week... I realized it was futile when I hit a dozen. This book takes recipes just a little bit further than most books. She uses oreo cookies, twix bars, and other candy bars as every-day add-ins to her baked good.

She has one recipe that is a cookie base with melted Toblerone bars smeared on top. There is a recipe for Saffron and Almond Biscotti, and another biscotti recipe that calls for dried apricots, mangos, raisins, macadamia nuts, coconut, lime and orange zest, lime, lemon and orange oil as well as rum and orange juice There is a cheesecake recipe that has me salivating and I don't like cheesecake -- a Cinn-a-Bun Cheesecake -- the crust made from cinnamon-raisin cookies, the filling uses more cinnamon-raisin cookies as well as raisins, cinnamon chips, and butterscotch sundae topping. It took a while for me to find a recipe to make today.

I decided to start with this recipe because it is a prime example of the extreme ooey, gooey sweetness of these recipes -- and it made enough for me to share with my class tomorrow as well as the usual suspects at work. It's a blondie batter and a brownie batter swirled together, but the brownie batter has rice cereal, marshmallows, milk chocolate bars, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, oreos, and walnuts mixed into it. Then, when the whole thing comes out of the oven she has you spread melted white chocolate, butterscotch and chocolate chips on top -- just for that little extra kick. It's like a group of 10 year olds got together and started talking about the ultimate brownie and this is the result.

They taste exactly like you would expect them to. Sweet, chocolatey, sweet, gooey, sweet, and um... sweet, not to mention fantastic and wonderful. For those of you worried about the raisins and dates -- don't -- you can't really taste them through all the other stuff going on with these things. They just add extra chewiness and maybe a faint raisin-y flavor, but it's not a bad thing at all. The only real downside, and is that they don't photograph that well, especially considering that I used the Hershey's Special Dark cocoa which always produces a midnight-dark brownie. I think I might have to proclaim these the most ridiculous brownie recipe ever -- and well worth the effort. :)

------ It turns out that I didn't quite bake them long enough, which means the whole middle of the pan was a complete mess. I thought about throwing that part out, but then I decided I would throw it in a tupperware container (a glob of chocolate brownie goodness) and offer it to whoever wanted it. (Ben?) The outside pieces are fine, crispy and chewy around the edges and soft and gooey in the middle -- it was just the middle of the pan that was impossible to deal with.

Ingredients:

Batter One:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Batter Two:
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate such as Hershey's bars
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 cups coarsely chopped cream-filled sandwich cookies
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Finishing Touches:
1/4 cup each chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Generously spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Have two large bowls ready. For Batter One, blend butter and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla and then fold in flour, baking powder, and salt to make a soft batter. Set aside.

For Batter Two, combine butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla, cocoa, soda, salt, and flour and mix well. Then fold in cereal and next 7 ingredients, using a large wooden spoon to blend.

Spoon Batter Two into pan, using wet hands to spread the batter in pan. Wash hands briefly. Spoon Batter One onto chocolate batter, using wet hands to deposit batter. Briefly mix batter to marbleize, using wet hands or a wooden spoon.

Bake until set or until spots of caramel batter seem set and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. Immediately sprinkle on three types of chips. Let sit a minute and then smear with a knife as chips melt. Refrigerate 2 hours before cutting into bars. These freeze perfectly.

3 comments:

bewildered jettisoned salmon said...

YES!

Blob of chocolate brownie goodness!

Even though I know of this "Ben" person only by (fearsome) repute -- I've heard that he's very dorky and pretentious; also bears a passing resemblance to spam. Though I'm sure he'll be happy to know about the delicious squiggles, though.

brave jingoist scalawag said...

Truly the stuff dreams are made on. Have absolutely no guilt about having stolen an entire thingy (ok, the word's not clicking, it's been a long day) of them -- despite the animadversions of a Captious Colleague who shall go un-named.=P

Anonymous said...

yowza! why didn't you warn me these were sweet?!?!

seriously, these were over-the-top. i'd call this a once-a-decade recipe, as are probably all of the recipes in the book. so it would take me a lifetime to get through it :)

-jb