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Diced! Dessert Bracket: S’Mores Brownies

I announced earlier that in honor of March Madness, I decided to create a dessert bracket with 16 styles of desserts. I’ve invited 16 great chefs to each take a category and make a recipe to enter into battle. I ranked the 16 based on my view of which was the favorite and like any bracket, the favorites are matched against the lower seeds. I won’t give you my seeding because I do not want to artificially impact your choices.

I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:

Flutter By Bamboo C2ECC267

This week’s pairing is:

Brownies vs. Hard Candy

Today we have Mrs. Dish from Dish This Today with a fun and delicious brownie…

A Brownie Story by Dish This Today

When tasked to come up with a winning brownie recipe, I went a little crazy.  I emailed several people if they had “the one” recipe, and then I scoured the internet looking for more ideas.  (After all who doesn’t like the perfect brownie?)  The problem is, just like with the classic chocolate chip cookie, how do you choose the perfect recipe.  Some like their brownies chewy (me); some like them fudgy and some prefer them more cake-like.

And . . . what about the embellishments that take a simple brownie and turn it into something spectacular.  In the end, I chose for this bake-off a chewy brownie with some wow, the triple-axle of browniesS’Mores Brownies (a brownie wedged between graham crackers and marshmallows). The recipe is found on the browneyedbaker.com website, but what I describe below adds some more details and some more photos of preparation.

The good news:  by participating in this exercise, I now have a lot of good brownie recipes for all types and am happy to share them.  At the end of this piece, I included a copy of my number-two pick, a classic fudge brownie, a recipe courtesy of my friend Charlie.

S’Mores Brownie Close Up

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S’Mores Brownies

(Credit Browneyedbaker.com)

Yields around 25-35 good sized thick brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes,

Cook Time 15 minutes crust, 35-40 minutes brownies; cool time 2 ½  hours

Clean Up Time 15 minutes

 

High Level Summary:  Make the crust; bake the crust, make the brownie recipe, pour into cooked crust, bake the brownies, broil the marshmallows, add the graham cracker pieces, let the brownies cool before serving.  The entire process takes a few hours but the actual work and cleanup is a half hour max. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS AND DIRECTIONS

Graham Cracker Crust Recipe

  • 3 cups graham cracker (note 1)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of Morton’s or similar salt (avoid kosher or sea salt)
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), melted (I did this in microwave bowl, cutting the butter in large chunks, and melting for 60 seconds.)  Save bowl for later use.

Note 1:  I used my Cuisinart to make the crumbs, pulsing about 1 package of crackers for 15-20 seconds at a time and then dumping the dust in my measuring container. I removed any stray chunks that did not turn into dust.  I used almost an entire 14.4 ounce box of crackers to get to three cups, opening the second box for the cracker topping.  However I think the crust with 3 cups is more than enough thick and you could use ¾ quarters of the box for the crust and then use the rest for the brownie topping.   I would pull back a little on the sugar if you use ¾ quarters of the box for the crust.

 

Graham Cracker Crust Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and adjust rack to lowest level
  • Lay out a very large slice of heavy aluminum foil to cover more than a 9X13 baking pan.  While flat, butter the foil
  • Line the baking pan with your greased foil, leaving enough overhang (for future lifting out of the pan). Cut excess away if simply too much foil.
  • Combine graham cracker dust, sugar and salt mixing well.  Add the melted butter and mix well with a fork or spoon until mixture is moist throughout.
  • Spread mixture into 9X13 pan, pressing in an even layer
  • Bake for 15 minutes tops

 

Chewie Brownie Recipe Ingredients (Credit Cooks Illustrated March/April 2010)

  • 1/3 Cup Dutch-processed cocoa (the language about processing might be on the side vs on the front container)
  • 1 teaspoons instant espresso (original recipe says optional and 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of boiling water (boil a cup and measure down when ready)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter melted (reuse bowl from above and melt in microwave 40 seconds)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flower
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into approximately ½ inch pieces
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows or flat marshmallows (for after baking)

 

Chewie Brownie Directions (Credit Cooks Illustrated March/April 2010)

  • Whisk cocoa, espresso, and boiling water in large bowl until smooth
  • Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted
  • Whisk in melted butter and oil
  • Add 2 eggs, and the 2 yolks
  • Add vanilla and continue to mix until shiny smooth
  • Whisk in sugar until fully combined
  • Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined
  • Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces in batches until fully mixed
  • Pour mixture over graham cracker pan, making an even of a layer as you can
  • Bake for 36-40 minutes (Your toothpick check will not be clean but it will look much different at 36-40 minutes vs 30-35 minutes and it will be more obvious when to pull out of oven.  Regardless remove by 40 minutes.)

 

Switch oven temperature to broiler setting

Lay marshmallows over the brownies in one layer.  In hindsight, I would leave some gaps between the marshmallows versus my picture below.

Broil for 60 to 120 seconds never taking your eye off the marshmallows.  They can burn easily. Aim for a nice brown tinge.

As soon as you remove the pan, top brownies with graham cracker pieces pressing the crackers into the brownie.

Cool on a wire rack for 1 ½ hours

Using foil overhang carefully remove brownies and set foil with brownies back on wire rack letting brownies cool another hour

Cut into squares/rectangles and serve

Store in container or on a plate well wrapped with plastic wrap.  These brownies last a few days.

Getting ready for my brownie bake-off

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Getting ready to make graham cracker crust

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Cuisinart Graham Crackers

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Prepped ingredients for the crust

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Mixing crust

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Cooked crust

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Brownie ingredients prepped

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You are looking for this type of consistency as you mix

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Add your flour

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Pour delicious goo in pan …

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Top already baked brownies with marshmallows (leave some gaps)

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Admire your work.

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Gobble them up off this plate


IMG_5060 - Featured Size

Showing a side view to give sense of how thick and yummy these are

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Real testimonial comments from my taste testers:

“The brownies were delicious just the way they were. I wouldn’t change anything”

“LOVE the way it looks! (Especially the marshmallows!) The brownie is cooked perfectly and I love how chewy and gooey the texture of the brownie and marshmallow is! Very rich and delicious!”

“Thank you! They are amazing.  My favorite part was the graham cracker crust.  I like that the brownie wasn’t too overpowering or sweet!”

“The s’mores brownies were absolutely delicious.  I don’t typically like s’mores but I really enjoyed this because of the brownie to marshmallow ratio!”

“The brownies on the bottom were my favorite part! It was gooey and delicious!”

“Delicious chocolate and marshmallow combo! It was very moist and rich! Delicious!”

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/08/11/smores-brownies/

 

# 2 Backup Recipe

Charlie’s Brownies:  Dense fudgy brownie. Very tasty!

 

IMG_5038

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The key to this recipe is to make sure each ingredient is properly mixed before adding the next.  This recipe should take about 20 minutes to prepare from all ingredients measured to placement in the oven. Clean up will take about five minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 300.

Special Item

This recipe calls for a 7X7 baking pan.  You do not need more than a 2 inch high 7X7 for this recipe and if you bake them in a larger 8X8 pan they will turn out shorter and need a little less baking time. I found a cheap pan on Amazon (Parrish Magic Line 7X7X3 Square Pan $22) which worked fine.

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter (plus some for greasing pan)
  • 1 large egg, unbeaten (If you like your brownies more like a cake texture, add an extra egg)
  • 1/3rd cup walnuts cut in small pieces
  • 1/3rd cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (any good brand fine)
  • 2 ounces (4 squares) of unsweetened Ghiardelli 100% Cocoa chocolate (sold in a 4 oz bar)

 

Directions

  • Mix dry ingredients…flour, sugar and salt and set aside
  • Mix vanilla with egg (break yolk), but do not beat and set aside
  • Break unsweetened chocolate in a pieces and melt in double boiler over stove between low to medium heat, remove from flame when melted
    • While chocolate starts melting, coat 7×7 inch baking pan with light coat of butter
    • While chocolate starts melting, cut butter in 2 or 3 chunks and melt in microwave for 30-40 seconds
  • Add butter to chocolate melt, mixing with rubber spatula until very consistent
  • Add dry ingredients to butter/chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is consistent
  • Stir in vanilla/egg mixture, again, until consistent
  • Fold in batches the walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate morsels and stir.
    • Recipe is fine with adding up to a  ½ cup each or with only ½ cup of either
  • Place in buttered 7 inch square pan. Cook 20 minutes at 300 degrees on middle rack  ** see picture below for consistency before baking (Notice thickness)
  • The cooling process is critical.  Remove pan, letting it cool on a rack for about 20 minutes or until bottom of pan is still hot but not burning to the touch.  Then place in freezer until bottom of pan is only slightly warm or nearly room temperature to the touch, about 15-20 minutes. If you remove it too soon, brownies will fall apart when cut.
  • Remove pan, cut around edges to separate from outside of pan
  • Turn over pan and literally drop onto cutting surface to separate from pan.  ie drop it 3-4 inches from the cutting service cutting board (really!)
  • Cut up brownies while still warm. Put in open container like a cookie tin lined with wax paper and avoid cooking them further with foil or putting in metal container until fully cooled.

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Dishthistoday is a new blogger, but not new to cooking. She recently started a blog to store her favorite recipes along with her cooking notes.   Despite not sharing her blog with a single sole, the Ranting Chef managed to stumble across her private blog post on homemade cherry pie (which she says is worth the effort) a few weeks ago.

She last made the pie for Father’s day and after seeing her pie devoured quickly she set out to document her steps.   She hopes her detailed steps convince others that they too can make a homemade pie from scratch.

Ms. Dishthistoday, is not ready to share her identity. But she wants you to know she loves to cook for her family and friends and exercises to the Food Network and scans cookbooks before she goes to bed.  During the day she is a busy professional.  She is not sure whether she will stick with her blog but regardless she knew the Ranting Chef was up to some fun with his March Madness Dessert Bracket and wanted to participate!

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Baking3, Chocolate, Dessert 2, Diced!, Guest, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

5 Comments on “Diced! Dessert Bracket: S’Mores Brownies”

  1. May 14, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    WOW!

    Like

  2. May 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Licks piggy lips. That looks amazing my friend! XOXO – Bacon

    Like

  3. May 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe!! I will do it for my niece, she will love these!

    Like

  4. May 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    This looks amazing. I think I’m going to have to try it with a Gluten free spin.

    Like

  5. May 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    The crust base really helps make the brownie special. Be careful not to take your eye off the marshmallows while broiling. Use a rack in the middle of the oven, not the top. Check every 10-15 seconds starting at 45 seconds by opening the door. It can take as little as 60 seconds to get a nice brown tinge or use a lower broil setting if available for slightly longer. The brownies are even better day 2. Mrs Dishthistoday !

    Like

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