Saturday, January 9, 2010

Salad Dressing Bownies

In order to distract you from the absence of Stupid Tie #5 (he wore a sweatshirt and hole-y jeans to work on Friday instead - gasp!), allow me to present a recipe...

And not just any recipe! These are 'Salad Dressing' Brownies* and they are quickly becoming the most popular creation in my dessert repertoire.

These are brownies made in 3 acts, so plan ahead if you want to be eating them at any particular time. (Although I can tell you from experience that there is not an hour of the day that is not a good one for eating these beauties.) Also, do not be afraid by the plurality of phases - none is particularly challenging and you can always go take a nap in between if you need to. (Though, why? It would only delay that first lovely bite...)

Lastly, before I begin I must cite my sources. The brownie layer is my own take on a recipe I got from a friend's mom years ago (Hi Georgene!) tied to a jar of Sand Art Brownie mix. I've adjusted it only the tiniest bit, and in this instance increased it to 9x13 proportions. The mint layer is adapted from Cooking Light, as posted on this blog. And then the ganache is from King Arthur but double tweaked by the blogger above and by me.

Enough. Let us begin.

Salad Dressing Brownies
Brownie Layer

Preheat oven to 350F

2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 C cocoa (Hershey's is my stand-by)
1 1/3 C sugar
1 1/3 C packed brown sugar
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C bittersweet chocolate chips
(I absolutely believe in using the best chocolate possible and so I use Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Both sorts are consistently available in my small town Kroger and regularly on sale - stock up when the price is good - you will not be sorry.)
Mix all of the above in a big bowl. Then add...

2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs (settle down, you'll be fine)
1 C oil (really, you're fine)

Mix everything really well.

Grease a 9x13 pan. Scrape the batter into the pan. Push it into the corners and even it out with a spatula if need be.

Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the center. (If the toothpick comes out wet, test again. You may have hit a chocolate chip.)

Let cool in the pan until roughly room temperature. (Or for as long as you can stand to wait.)

Mint Layer

In a medium bowl combine:

2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C melted butter
2 TBSP milk (If you're still feeling bad about all those eggs, use skim, but any kind will do.)
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract**

Mix until smooth. Glop it out onto the brownies and then spread evenly. (Silently thank your lucky stars for a sister-in-law who gives off-set spatulas for birthday presents!)

This will give you a fairly thin (but still potent) layer of mint. If you'd like a thicker layer, double everything above except for the peppermint extract. Depending on your taste you could leave that the same or bump it up as much as you dare.

Chocolate Ganache Layer

2 C (1 bag) bittersweet chocolate chips (see above, and photo, below)
1 C heavy cream or whipping cream (seriously, settle down. these are brownies!)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until very hot. It is hot enough when steam rises from the surface and you can see tiny bubbles forming around the edges - do NOT let it boil! Remove from heat and dump in all of the chocolate chips. At first it will look really sketchy.

But don't worry. Just keep stirring and in no time you will have a lovely creamy shiny pot of chocolate goodness.

Scrape the ganache out of the pan and onto the mint layer. Spread evenly, being careful not to cut into the mint. (Again, much love to spatula-giving S-I-L.)

Pop the whole thing into the fridge to give the ganache a chance to set up. When that's happened, dig in!

I like to cut these into little triangles. They're very rich and just a few bites (usually) satisfies. They keep nicely for a few days in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge if you like your minty chocolate cold.

*So called in honor of one of my new knitting buddies and her treat-making ingenuity. Our knitting group had a little extra-curricular outing in the cold one night and she thoughtfully brought along hot chocolate. She poured me a cup and then asked if I wanted some 'salad dressing' in it, and brandished an old salad dressing bottle filled with a mysterious clear liquid. Always game for adventure I agreed and seconds later was enjoying hot cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps. Hence, these deeply chocolate-y and intensely minty brownies are named Salad Dressing Brownies in tribute.

**I haven't tried it yet, but I imagine you could substitute peppermint schnapps for the peppermint extract. It would certainly be more in the spirit of the original salad dressing delight. I've been baking for kids and Chris's office buddies, but perhaps next time I'll make these true 21-and-over Salad Dressing Brownies. I'll update you on that when it happens. And if you try it before I do, please let me know how it goes!


EHiRunner said...

I now think I remember two separate instances of drinking hooch transported in a salad dressing bottle. I would like to add, though, that in each instance I was under 17 years of age, and not a respectable employed member of a small town community in SW Virginia, all of which is to say I think we know which of us has the sketchy friends. Knitters--always so low-brow.

addie said...

i can haz nom?

ehirunner said...

mooooor brogpoastes pleez.