Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brownie Bread Pudding

These days the housewares department always has those big pictures with sayings. I know you all have seen them..The first that comes to mind is "live, love, laugh."  Even though the thought is nice, these items soon become just decorations in the house.  It is hard for me to picture someone going down their hallway, before going to work, reading these pictures so they can have the proper mind set. 

Then there is are ones that do not fit the person. I am very tempted at times to ask who actually bought those things, because is sure does not reflect the person's character that is living there. Perhaps they are trying to display some strange type of irony.  So, if you are stubborn and set in your ways, it is time to take down the picture/sign that says "think outside the box".

Well, here we are with something that fits that saying...brownie bread pudding. This recipe actually is made with day-old or stale brownies. Most of us do not have that problem, but if you want to create something a little more upscale than brownies without a great deal of effort, you should keep reading. To push the idea further, experimentation with cake should prove to be a good endeavor. If you have a lot of excess trimmings from leveling cakes or the centers that you have taken out of cupcakes to fill, this recipe is a great option.

The transformation of the dry crumbs of the chocolate brownie when baked with the vanilla custard is nothing short of amazing. They turn back to their fluffy state with a creamy twist from the custard.  Topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel, this dessert carries a unique blend of textures and flavors that keep you from putting down your spoon until you are completely done. 

I implemented the recipe for ramekins and still ended up with a lot of excess crumbs, so the listing below sticks to the original size of a 7x11 inch baking dish. Make sure you plan in advance if you do not have any stale brownies on hand.

Brownie Bread Pudding
adapted from Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe

3 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) and 2 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp finely ground coffee beans
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Ingredients/Vanilla Custard
2 1/2 cups of half and half
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
2/3 cup sugar

vanilla ice cream

Start one day ahead to make the brownies. Prepare an 8 inch square pan by greasing the interior and lining the bottom with parchment. Grease the face up side of the parchment. Preheat the oven to
350 degrees.

Set up a double boiler over medium high heat. Fill the top pot with the butter and unsweetened chocolate. Let the mixture heat up and melt, stirring occasionally. Once all is melted, remove pan from heat and remove top pot. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar, vanilla, eggs and ground coffee. Blend with whisk attachment on low speed. As the mixer is running, stream in the butter/chocolate mixture. Then turn off the mixer and remove the bowl.

Using another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the chocolate batter and fold in with a spatula. Repeat this process until all the dry ingredients are folded into the batter. Lastly, add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Place in oven until tester indicates done, this should take about 30 minutes. The brownies should be removed prior to the edges pulling away from the pan. Let cool completely in pan. Run a knife around the edge and invert onto a cutting board. Finely crumble the brownies in a shallow bowl or pan and let sit out uncovered overnight.

The next day, grease the interior of a 7x11 baking pan. Fill the pan with the brownie crumbs, making sure they cover the bottom evenly. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs together. Then stir in the sugar, half and half and vanilla.  Pour the mixture evenly over the brownie crumbs. Cover the pan with foil and let sit for 20 minutes. The brownie crumbs will soften and soak up the custard.

Then place the pan in the oven, leaving the foil on. During the baking process, the mixture will solidify, indicating that it is done baking. This should take about 55-60 minutes. Remove and let cool for about 15 minutes, then cut and serve each piece with topping of ice cream and caramel.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you want to just make the brownies to eat as is, reduce the flour by 2 tbs.

2. Since form is not important with the brownies, you can just tear pieces out of the pan after cooling and crumble. The inverting process is not required.

3. Since the brownies bake up nice and moist, it is important that you follow the process for creating "stale crumbs" otherwise, the soaking process will not work as well.
                                  **LAST YEAR:Chocolate Cherry Scones"