Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Macaroon Brownie Bars

Macaroon Brownie Bars - made April 19, 2011 from Greyston Bakery Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (book #90)

I'm on a brownie kick again because I'm meeting a group of friends for dinner tonight and it's tradition that I always bring goodie bags to hand out, which usually includes brownies.  I get to experiment with new recipes and my friends get to have some homemade treats.  Win-win all around.  I remember one time when I felt guilty that I was handing out bags of calorie bombs so I didn't bring anything to a get together, thinking I was doing them a favor.  Not so much.  Never saw such long faces in my life when I arrived empty-handed.  Not only did I let down my friends but also their spouses who were waiting for them at home, expecting to partake of said goodie bags.  So now I've learned my lesson and don't veer away from tradition.  The goodie bags live on.

This is a pretty easy brownie to make.  I omitted the chocolate chunks from the brownie base and instead added mini chocolate chips to the macaroon topping.  No particular reason why but just wanted to sprinkle some chocolate to the top.  You can do either or both.  Other than that, I followed the directions to the letter and for once, actually timed everything exactly.  Unfortunately, I would rate these brownies as only "okay".  I like the concept of them and I love the coconut topping.  But the brownie base was more cakey than fudgy.  It wasn't dry but I'm used to my brownies being barely one step above fudge.  I want them fudgy, not cakey.  If I were to make these again, I'd cut the first baking time in half and reduce the second baking time by at least 5 minutes.  The taste was good but I prefer a fudgier texture for the brownie part.

Brownie Base
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopping into chunks

Coconut Topping
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups (7 ounces) sweetened, flaked coconut

1.      Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Grease a 9” baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving about 1” of paper overhanging the two long sides.
2.      In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt until well blended.
3.      In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate.
4.      Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides begin to set but the center is still soft.  Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.
5.      Prepare the coconut topping: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.  Stir in the almond extract.  Gradually stir in the flour, mixing thoroughly.  Stir in the coconut.
6.      Using a spoon, gently place spoonfuls of the mixture over the partially baked brownie base and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.
7.      Return the pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out almost clean.  Do not overbake.  Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove the brownies by grasping and lifting the edges of parchment.  Cut into bars.

1 comment: