Wednesday, November 11, 2009

will work for chocolate

my sweet, handsome, amazing husband has been working extra hard lately.

on top of his regular work load, he found time to move everything out of the bedroom and living room to get read for our new carpet last week.
he did it all by himself. *hangs head in shame*
he is a rockstar.

a good way to thank the man is to make him something chocolate.
i think he likes chocolate more than i do.
and i really like it.

i became a connoisseur of all things chocolate when i worked for many years through out high school and college at honolulu chocolate company.
man, those where the days!
chocolates were hand made in the back room, there was row after row of joseph schmidt truffles and bars of scharffen berger stacked high.

i wrapped thousands of chocolate covered fortune cookies for weddings.
i had to (HAD TO) sample one of every piece of chocolate in the store so i could give customers an honest opinion of what we had to offer.
i can tell the difference between 72% and 60% dark chocolate.
i smelled like chocolate when i left work. could say i have been ruined for life in regards to fine chocolates.
my hubby on the other hand only notices the quality of chocolate if he's eating some that has spoiled.

i decided to make my hard workin' man a treat combining two of his beloved's.
chocolate and coffee.
bittersweet brownies with sweet caramel mocha frosting...
the perfect combo.

Bittersweet Brownies

7-8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (2 store bought bars of very dark chocolate usually equal 7 oz.)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temp
1¼ cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a heatproof bowl (i use my stand mixer bowl) set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.
Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds.
Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated.
Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon pushing the spoon through the center of the batter to combine. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Sweet Caramel Mocha Frosting

1 stick of soften butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3-1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
Store bought caramel sauce / syrup

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla. Mix on med low until just combined.
Slowly add the cooled coffee.
Whip icing on medium high until light and fluffy.
If frosting is too thick, add a bit more coffee till you get the right consistency.
If frosting becomes too thin add more powdered sugar.

Take the pan of completely cooled brownies and drizzle caramel sauce directly on to the top of the brownies.
As little or as much as you care for, reserving some of the sauce to drizzle on top when serving.
Now spread frosting over brownies.
Cut, drizzle the top with caramel sauce and serve**.

**we noticed the brownies tasted even more amazing the day after they were made.
the coffee and powdered sugar in the frosting had time to meld together.
it was not as sweet, but still sweet mind you!!
so if you can wait, put them in the fridge or cover them on the counter top to serve the following day.

good luck with that.

Adapted from: Annie's Eats, Pioneer Woman

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