Show-Stopper Chocolate Brownies

It was Mother's Day on Sunday and in true celebratory fashion I cooked up a mad feast!

I made Texan-Style Chili Crabs for entree (recipe to follow), Pulled Pork Sliders for main and the pièce de résistance was a decadent rocky road brownie dessert.

This isn't your typical rocky road recipe. I stumbled across it on my internet travels on another blog- passionforbaking.com ... It's a little bit special and a little bit delicious (ok maybe a lotta bit delicious).

The only adjustments I made were to top the brownie with toasted meringue instead of frosting to try to emulate the marshmallow component in rocky road, I omitted the chocolate ganache because I thought that was a bit of overkill... Oh yeah and I doubled the portion size, cos that's how I roll.

You will need... (serves 12-18 depending how big you want your serves to be)
For the Brownie
1 1/4 cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
12 oz. (350 g) dark chocolate
5 tablespoons pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (230 g) butter
1 3/4 cup (350 g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method...
1. Put the chocolate and butter into a bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stir until everything is melted
2. Turn off the heat, but leave the bowl where it is.
3.Add the brown sugar to the chocolate mixture, stir until everything is well blended.
4. It’s this process of heating the sugar which makes the top of the brownies nice and shiny after baking.
5. Remove the bowl from the heat. Add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract and carefully stir to mix. It’s important not to overmix, or you’ll end up with chocolate cake instead of brownies!
6. Tip in the flour and cocoa powder, stir until everything is well blended.
7. Pour the batter into a cake pan. Here I’ve used a 6×8-inch (15×20 cm) pan, but you can just as well use a 7×10-inch (18×26 cm) pan.
8. Bake the brownies in a 350 ˚F (180 ˚C) oven for 30 minutes, no longer.
9. Leave to cool completely before cutting up and decorating.

Image from passionforbaking.com

To Decorate...
For the Meringue
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 pinch salt

Method...
1. Place the egg whites and salt in a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water, or fat such as butter, oil or egg yolks, as this will inhibit the egg whites from incorporating air and producing a good volume. It is best to use a stainless steel, glass, ceramic or copper bowl for whisking egg whites and not plastic as traces of fat are difficult to remove from plastic bowls. Use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
2. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until just combined. The sugar should be added gradually but there is no need to whisk well after each addition. If the sugar is added too slowly, the resulting mixture will be fluffy and not smooth and will give the final meringues an open texture.
3. After the last of the sugar has been, added, continue to whisk for a further 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. The best way to test if all the sugar has dissolved is to rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger.
4. If it is smooth, all the sugar has dissolved. Keep a close eye on the mixture and stop beating as soon as it reaches this stage. Once finished, spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle or place in the fridge, covered, until your ready to use.

Image taken from b-metro.com


For the Caramel Sauce...
1 cup (225 g) regular sugar
1/4 cup (65 ml) water
1/3 cup (85 ml) heavy cream (*use 1 cup + 1 tablespoon/250 ml instead for a runnier sauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter

Method...
1. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and place on a medium heat. Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil without stirring. Allow to bubble away until the mixture turns to a rich amber colored caramel, then take the pan off the heat.
2. Pour in the cream, but use caution when adding the cream to the pan as the mixture will bubble up. (*For a runnier sauce, use 1 cup + 1 tablespoon / 250 ml heavy cream instead of 1/3 cup/85 ml.)
3. Add the vanilla, followed by the butter. Put the pan back on the heat and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture no longer bubbles up.
Image taken from passionforbaking.com

To assemble, place the brownie portion on a plate or shallow bowl. Pipe a good amount of meringue on top, then use a blowtorch or a hot grill to toast the meringue to a dark brown colour (I like mine really toasted to give that campfire-marshmallow effect). Finish by spooning caramel over the top and a sprinkling of salted peanuts.

Soooo Delicious!!
For the original recipes-
http://en.passionforbaking.com/blog/2014/01/04/manuela-s-favorite-brownies/
http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/10834/basic+meringues
http://en.passionforbaking.com/blog/2013/10/29/omygosh-karamel-saus/


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