Is it possible to have too many brownie recipes in your repertoire? I don’t think so, as long as they differ from each other and offer you a variety of choices when you just NEED a brownie!
Today’s recipe started out as a fairly standard frosted brownie, with a cocoa flavored whipped cream frosting. But when I was trying to get the brownies off the foil liner, it started cracking. I cut it in half to make it easier, but it still was problematic. Don’t worry, I made a couple of changes to the recipe directions to make sure you don’t have the same problems. Lining the pan with parchment guarantees the brownies won’t stick.
As I was trying to figure out the best way to “fix” the brownies so I could get the photographs I wanted, I looked at the two halves and they reminded me of the ice cream sandwiches I grew up with as a child. Ah Ha! What if I switched the frosting to a filling and made the brownies into sandwiches instead? Perfect!
Isn’t it funny how something that seems to be a failure can turn into a delightful new idea! I never would have thought of creating brownie sandwiches when I looked at the original recipe, but now I can’t imagine this recipe being made any other way. If you want to get more servings out of this recipe, serve the brownies open-faced, without the second brownie on top. They will be easier to eat, less filling, and will serve more people. They are quite rich, so I doubt people will be disappointed at a slightly smaller serving.
Once I figured out that I wanted to change this recipe around, I plated it and started photographing. I recently got a couple of new lenses and decided to play around a little with them. I was incredibly pleased with the quality of the shots I got tonight, and for the first time had a slew of photos all worthy of being named the money shot. What do you guys think?
I’ve been working hard on my photography, trying to improve the quality, clarity and angles of the images. I am definitely getting better, but still have a long way to go. The new lenses are helping because they give me more flexibility in the depth of field and I don’t require as much light to get great shots. They are going to be a lot of fun to play with!
I usually don’t get a chance to make my Chocolate Monday recipes until Sunday night and am often under pressure to get it made, plated, photographed, and written. If anything goes awry, I tend to get a bit testy. Thank goodness The Artist knows how to help me work through the issues to create the treats you see. Often he will give me ideas on how to salvage something that is troublesome or turn it into something entirely different like tonight’s recipe. Or I will bounce ideas off him to see if it sounds tempting to him. If you like the recipes I create for you, chances are you can thank The Artist for many of them! 😉
When you want a rich, chocolate dessert that is satisfying without being too filling, this is the treat for you. If you are looking for a dessert to serve to your crowd for the Super Bowl, this might just be perfect. Full of chocolate flavor, sugary enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth, and messy enough to be perfect for a casual meal, I think these will be on my menu next weekend!
Have a wonderful Chocolate Monday!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
These brownies are fragile and easily break. Handle them gently. If they crumble on you, turn this to a triffle. Get out a clear glass bowl and make alternating layers of the whipped cream and pieces of brownies. Your guests will never know it wasn’t intentional. And if you are looking for a more elegant dessert, a triffle is perfect!
I made mine by hand, mixing everything with a whisk, but if you are using gluten-free flour, go ahead and use a stand mixer. It is easier and you do not have to worry about developing gluten by over-beating the batter!
Kitchen Skill: Whipping Cream
This may sound like a silly thing to focus on as a kitchen skill, but many people do not understand how simple it is to make your own whipped cream and buy the premade stuff in tubs. Not only does it not taste good, but it is full of chemicals that just aren’t good for us. I would much rather take 3 minutes to whip it from scratch and create something that is truly remarkable tasting and much healthier.
Make sure the cream is very cold and use the whisk attachment for your stand mixer. In a heavy-duty mixer this will take just a few minutes – a hand mixer will take a bit longer. Get the whipping started before adding any other ingredients. Once it is foamy you can add sugar and vanilla or any other flavorings you want. Once they are incorporated, turn the speed up to high and whip until the beater leaves deep lines in the cream.
Stop the mixer and lift the beater to see how stiff the peaks are. You can always beat longer, but if you beat it too long it will turn to butter. It is always safer to stop a couple of times to check rather than let the mixer run too long.
- 1-1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour - OR -
- Gluten-Free option: 1 cup GF flour blend + 1/3 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Chocolate Whipped Cream Filling
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar (to your taste)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Pinch of salt
- Chocolate jimmies, grated chocolate, or other decoration
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil that overlaps on the ends (creating a “sling with handles”) and butter well. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment and butter the parchment. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla. You can also do this in a standing mixer or use a hand held mixer if you prefer. When the ingredients are blended. slowly add the melted butter so you temper the eggs a bit and don’t wind up with scrambled eggs. Beat until completely smooth.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until all ingredients are blended. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. You can also do this with a mixer - if you do, beat in half the dry ingredients and fold in the second half with a flexible silicone spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. This is a heavy batter and will take a little nudging with an offset spatula to get it into the corners. Try to get as even a layer as possible. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with few moist crumbs. (Note: in my oven, it took 27 minutes for the gluten-free version to be fully baked.) Remove from the oven and place the pan onto a cooling rack; let cool completely.
- Make the Filling: Place the cream in the chilled bowl of your standing mixer and beat on medium until foamy. Turn off the mixer, add half the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. With the mixer on low, slowly beat until the sugar is incorporated. Turn the mixer off, add the remaining sugar, and beat, starting on low and working up to high speed, until you have stiff peaks. Add the cocoa powder and beat until it has completely dissolved into the cream and there are no white streaks remaining.
- Assemble the Sandwiches: Remove the cooled brownies from the pan by lifting the foil sling and place it on a cutting board. Carefully invert the brownies onto the cutting board and peel of the foil and parchment. Using a 10-inch carving knife, cut a very thin slice off each side to get straight and clean edges. Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Cut each half into 8 pieces. Place one small piece onto each plate, top with a large dollop of the chocolate whipped cream, place a second brownie on top of the filling and press down gently. Add a small dollop of the cream to the top of the sandwich. Sprinkle the top with chocolate jimmies, chocolate shavings or other garnishes if desired. Serve immediately with forks for eating (don’t try to eat them by hand as they will fall apart and the cream will squish out).
- Make Ahead: You can bake, cool and cut the brownies, and then store them, covered, in the refrigerator. Do not fill them with the whipped cream until just before serving. You can make the brownies a day ahead and the cream can be whipped a few hours ahead. Store the cream in the refrigerator and beat with a whisk before serving to lighten it up again.
- Yield: about 8 sandwiches or 16 open-faced treats
- This recipe makes a lot of cream, so be generous in the filling and topping and if people want more, you will have it to offer. The cream also makes a wonderful topping for coffee, hot chocolate, or chocolate chip pancakes and waffles!
Create a New Tradition Today!
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