Tuesday, March 28, 2017

12 Dozen Brownies, 3 types, but my favorite...Chocolate Chunk with Ganache Frosting and Salted Caramel

When we are kids we start to get asked the question, ”What do you want to do when you grow up?” The funny thing about that is we “adults” act like we all know what we want to do when we grow up.  I know there are those of us that do.  I have two guy friends who are doing what (at least I think) they knew they sort-of wanted to do since high school.  Which I think is pretty freaking awesome!  I hope to one day be doing my "dream" job; well hope I figure out what that is one day.  Maybe for me it’s opening a bakery where people want to come and eat yummy desserts, while getting to hang out with friends.  Or maybe its being wedding planner (which I do LOVE doing).  Or maybe it is something else entirely...who knows?

I was thinking about this though, because I am way behind on sharing this post.  And by way behind I mean months behind, like almost 7 months behind. (Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes you just don’t have any inspiration to write.)  This post is about desserts that traveled via airplane (2 to be exact) for a very special wedding.  One of the guys I mentioned earlier, that is at least in the field he wants to be in, and as well as a doctor now, got married just outside of Savannah last September.  I was honored when he and his now wife asked me to bake the desserts for the wedding, and I was up for the challenge of carrying about 12 dozen brownies and a cake on the airplane.

So, Thursday before their wedding, I went to work baking an Oreo cream cake and a LOT of brownies.  5 dozen of the fudge frosted with salted caramel, 4 dozen mint, and 3 dozen walnut to be exact.  These brownies then went for a ride, they went through airport security, and traveled via airplane to Savannah.  I didn’t want them to dry out, so I didn’t cut them until I got to Georgia.  After a beautiful beach wedding, and some yummy BBQ, the bride and groom cut the cake and the brownies were served.  I owe them a big thank you here for letting me be a small part of their special day.  Baking for others, getting to share the thing I love doing with others, is absolutely the best!  Congratulations again Karl and Allie! Cheers to sweet adventures!

A duffel bag full of brownies.

And the cake...it got special treatment.

Getting up close and personal with the frosting...still missing the caramel here.

Chocolate Chunk Brownies:
Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chocolate chips
*double this recipe for a 9x13" pan

Almost Burnt Salted Caramel Sauce: (recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker adapted to make a smaller quantity)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons good-quality salted butter
1⁄4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting: (recipe from Tasting Table)
*I timed and a halved (1 1/2) this recipe so I would make sure I had enough frosting for a three layer cake.
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Prepare the caramel first:
1.  Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup to the warming pan. Whisk the sugar occasionally as it begins to heat, to ensure that the sugar cooks evenly.

2.  Cook the sugar to a nice dark copper color. The sugar will go from golden to dark copper fairly quickly. To help control the sugar, turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool burner just before you reach the dark color you’d like. The bottom of the pan will still be hot enough to continue to cook the sugar.

3.  Over low heat, whisk butter, all at once, into the copper-colored sugar. When butter is melted, pour in the cream. The mixture will bubble and froth, but keep mixing. When bubbling subsides, add vanilla extract. Stir. The caramel might feel too loose. Don’t worry; it will thicken as it cools.

4.  Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To thin, warm in the microwave for a few seconds until you reach the desired consistency.  While cakes are cooling prepare the frosting.  It can be made a day before.

Time for the Brownies
5.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

6.  In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients through the salt, and mix to combine.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

7.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. (do not over bake) When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

8.  While the brownies are cooling prepare the frosting.  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Then in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream and sugar, stirring often until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes.

9. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chocolate begins to soften. Whisk until smooth and allow to sit for another 5 to 7 minutes to cool slightly.

10. Whisk the butter into the chocolate, adding only 1 or 2 pieces at a time and whisking until they're blended in before adding the next.  

11. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it seems spreadable, 20 to 30 minutes.

12.  Once the brownies have cooled, and on the day you are serving them, cut, frost and then top with caramel sauce. Or frost and caramel before cutting if you are looking for just a spreadable frosting.  Serve and enjoy!
*store in an air tight container if not enjoying right away.

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