To Die For, Part I
Monday, January 30, 2012
FINALLY! A RECIPE! (But still no picture … sorry. I’m doing the best I can.)
This recipe is not cheap, not easy, not healthy.
It is, however, really good.
I pulled this recipe ages and ages ago but I’d never made it because it is a multi-day process and it just didn’t seem worth the effort. I didn’t want to go through all that and have it be not that good. But then I needed something to bribe people with and I figured this might work.
I was organizing the Swap-O-Rama this year and I needed to make sure I had enough people around after things were over to help with cleanup. The Swap ended at four o’clock. I told people that I was making brownie ice cream bars but they weren’t coming out of the freezer until four-thirty, so anyone who wanted one had to stick around and help with cleanup until then. Worked like a charm.
Turns out the recipe is from Martha Stewart and it’s on her website. (I had a photocopy from the magazine, but the magazine name wasn’t anywhere on the page so wasn’t sure what magazine it was actually from.)
You can get the original from the website, but here is my version, with some comments.
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 pints vanilla ice cream
40 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 stick unsalted butter
(1) I am not Martha Stewart-esque enough to pull off a full chocolate covering; mine just had a small-ish amount chocolate on the top, none on the sides, and that was fine.
(2) I wanted to use good ice cream (Haagen Dazs Five is my current favorite) and could not bring myself to spend $16 on ice cream for a recipe that I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, and also four pints of ice cream seemed excessive for the number of people I was feeding. I used two pints, and had a smaller proportion of ice cream to brownie than you would have if you used the full amount. (Alternatively, you could use only half the brownie, or adjust as desired to get the right volume of ice cream with your given thickness of brownie.)
(3) 40 ounces of chocolate for the coating is insane. You don’t need that much.
Here’s what I did.
1. The first day, I made brownies, following the instructions as given:
Melt together 6 ounces of chocolate and 1-1/2 sticks of butter in the top of a double boiler. Whisk 3 large eggs in a large bowl; add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in the butter and chocolate mixture, then fold in 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.
Pour the batter into a 10 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Do not overbake; a cake tester should not come out clean.
I actually cooked them in small loaf pans because of the limitations of my oven; I think that worked better, it made it easier to work with in later steps.
2. I let the brownie sit overnight. (I can’t remember if I put it in a plastic container or if I wrapped it in plastic wrap and then covered with foil — anything along those lines would work.)
3. The second day, I softened the ice cream slightly and beat with an electric mixer so it was spreadable but not melted. I do not have a paddle attachment, so I just used the regular metal beaters.
I put the brownie back in the small loaf pans and spread the softened ice cream on top of it. (I had started to follow the instructions to take the brownie out and trim but then decided that was just a waste of brownie and my friends probably wouldn’t care how straight the brownie edges were. So I didn’t trim, just used as is.)
4. I put the pans with brownie covered with ice cream back in the freezer. I increased the coldness of the freezer to make sure that it got really solidly frozen. I left it overnight.
5. The third day, I melted maybe 8 or 10 ounces of chocolate. I attempted to follow the recipe and melt chocolate with butter, but it didn’t seem like the consistency was right so I ended up adding a little bit of vegetable oil and that seemed to work better. I don’t remember what kind of chocolate I used, if it was just a bag of chocolate chips or some kind of chocolate from Whole Foods. I feel like I might have used better chocolate (Valrhona or something) for the brownies and regular chocolate chips for the coating, but I’m not sure about that at all. Basically any chocolate coating, such as melting together a tablespoon of oil with a bag of chocolate chips, would work.
6. I brought the ice cream bars out of the freezer one pan at a time (this is where having them in small pans worked better), took them out of the pan, and cut them into small squares. I did not trim them to make them even. No one I know cares how even the edges of their brownie ice cream bars are.
7. I attempted to cover them with chocolate and the first attempt started to melt the ice cream and all of the chocolate slid completely off onto the counter. From this I learned that you need to let the melted chocolate cool a little bit before attempting to put it on the ice cream. (That might obvious to other people but it wasn’t to me. Now you know.)
I very quickly realized that I lacked the skill to fully cover the ice cream bar, and I didn’t want everything to melt, so I just poured some chocolate over the top, spread it around a little bit, and didn’t worry about covering anything or how much was there.
I wrapped the squares in waxed paper and packed into plastic containers for storage and put back into the freezer. I transported in a cooler.
I gave one to a friend who worked an early shift and wasn’t able to stay later, I saw her just before she left and she said, “That was possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
They were worth the trouble.
And if I make them again, I’ll try to take a picture that does them justice.