If you’re a sweet tooth or a chocoholic or both then chances are high that you indulge in the fudgy comfort of brownies frequently.
When I was approached by a client to make desserts for 50 guests at her birthday party,I had grandiose ideas. The party held at a trendy art gallery and she wanted something that was “arty” and “architectural”. I was buzzing with excitement at the prospects until I was brought crashing down to earth when I was informed that
A. There would be limited access to refrigeration; in fact there was no fridge at the facility just a poky freezer.
B. During the event I would be located in an adjoining room, which would not be air conditioned, and
C. The budget was not unlimited; I hastily cancelled my order for edible gold leaf! Yikes!
This left me in a quandary because I had to figure out how to prepare a beautiful dessert that would not perish in the Lagos warmth and humidity and one that did not rely on refrigeration.
Then it hit me! Brownies! Of course! I quickly decided to incorporate flavours and textures that would complement one another, look beautiful and create a wow factor. This is how I ended up with my gourmet brownies served with raspberry coulis, orange syrup, cream cheese frosting, dankwa and sugar caramel.
The prep work was insane but the results and reactions made it all worth it.
Here’s a quick guide if you would like to attempt this delightful dessert.
Ingredients for brownies.
1/2 cup butter (113 grams)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
The “How To”
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and then grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan; be sure to use a spatula to even it out in the pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook; what you are looking to achieve is a cakey exterior with a moist fudgy interior.
I find that it is always better to slice the brownies in your desired portion size when it’s still hot then allow to cool completely before taking it out of the pan.
Ingredients for the raspberry coulis
250 grams fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tbs icing sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
The “How To”
This recipe is dead easy and works well with any soft fruit you can find.
Place all the ingredients in pan and cook until the fruit breaks down.
The transfer the contents to a blender or food processor and blitz until you get smooth consistency.
The sieve the sauce to get rid of the seeds. You should have a beautiful glossy ruby sauce that is sweet with a touch of tartness.
Ingredients for the orange syrup.
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
The “How To”
Wash the oranges thoroughly and slice them.
Place all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pot and cook until the oranges are translucent and a thick syrup has developed.
Carefully take out the orange slices (which may be used as a garnish) and allow the syrup to cool; it will get thicker as it cools.
Sugar caramel is essential granulated sugar that has been melted down. Until is molten and golden brown. Pour it into a greased heat proof container and let it set. Then shatter it and use the shards.
Note: molten caramelised sugar is extremely hot and must never be handled with bare hands!
The major prep work is complete and now you are ready to plate! Simply spread cream cheese frosting on the brownies (I used store bought this time) top with dankwa and sprig of mint accompanied by the raspberry coulis and orange syrup.
For more about dankwa, please read this post.
The dessert was well received; the guests were delighted and surprised which was great for me.
A massive shout out to the best sister in the world; Moe – she hot footed it down to the party to help me amidst the sea of brownies and cream cheese frosting.