Gourmandistan has a long history of bringing our virtual world recipes from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies. (We are not sorry, dear readers, because the recipes are so damn good.) Today’s homage is to a batch of brownies that bypass chocolate for cocoa powder. As Medrich says, “the best brownies are not always made with a bar of chocolate,” asserting that cocoa gives brownies “divinely soft centers and slightly chewy, almost candylike tops.”
We must admit the idea of coconut icing came before the idea to adapt Alice’s brownies, because we had a can of opened coconut milk that needed to be dealt with and, for Michelle, frosting is quite often a very good way of dealing with things. Covering the “candylike” tops with coconutty cream cheese frosting turned out to be a very good idea, making an already delightful treat something sweet and sublime. We will not be banishing chocolate bars from our larder anytime soon—but for brownies, we may be sticking to cocoa for a while.
Brownies: Preheat oven to 325° F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8″ square pan with foil. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add sugar, cocoa and salt over very low heat. Stir until blended and mixture is hot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon after each addition. Add flour and stir until incorporated. Mix vigorously until shiny. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or more, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out “slightly dirty looking” but not wet. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Lift edges of foil and place brownies on a cutting board. Cool completely. Icing: Place coconut milk in a small saucepan and cook until reduced by half. Refrigerate. (If you over-reduce, just add a little cream to make it equal 1/4 c.) Cream butter and cream cheese in bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add confectioners’ sugar, reduced coconut milk and vanilla. Beat until sugar is incorporated and icing is smooth. If too thin, add a little more sugar. If too thick, add some cream or milk. Frost top of brownies. Cover with coconut flakes. Store in refrigerator.
COCOA BROWNIES WITH COCONUT ICING
Preheat oven to 325° F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Line an 8″ square pan with foil.
Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon after each addition.
Add flour and stir until incorporated. Mix vigorously until shiny.
Frost top of brownies. Cover with coconut flakes. Store in refrigerator.