This is going to be a very special Best Food, Finds and Friends Friday...because last night I was blessed to be able to visit with my darling culinary school friend Evil Tara! Yes, that is a term of endearment. Those who have been friends and readers of the blog-o-glory will know, all too well how we call our cooking adventures the Evil Think Tank or ETT. The ETT started originally at the beginning of this blog the first time I ever held a digital camera almost 3 years ago. Tara invited me over to cook...and to let me use her camera so I'd have some pictures to put on my blog. Yes, things at my house were *that* tight. I started this little adventure on a shoestring budget and a dream.
The ETT went on from there as a grand delightful time when Evil Tara and Evil Tess needed time out creating culinary delights from a combination of ingredients of our choice. Sometimes we'd end up at a special market or grocery store. Always there was some new thing to create. As it has progressed, I've had a few ETT's without Tara. I've been to other dear friends' homes and enjoyed creating with them...but always the resulting event was to be the same. Random ingredients and creative minds. It's like a melting pot of all things amazing...and usually involves a block of chocolate. Ironically, last night was not an exception. To my joy, we had a few sweet visitors and got to play "dessert fairies" after our adventures and deliver some little bowls of happiness to a few of our dear friends in the area.
It's not an ETT without the
Evil clip boards and evil bobble-head giant pens-o-love-and-destruction. Oh, and I can't even work my magic without my lucky socks.Tara found my camera and took a shot. Bwhaaha! Can you see the smoke coming out of my ears? OH...and the foot pop with the magic socks is a nice touch. Does popping one's foot out like that help them think better? I think YES. I know the pen the size of a rolling pin helped!
So, we decided to make a variation of Brownie Pudding from the Barefoot Contessa. We'll give her full credit for this one because it was a truly amazing recipe. I think it's one to keep forever in my Evil notes. What came out was a cross between a hot chocolate pudding and a fudge brownie. It's a warm, gooey, rich almost brownie fudge "cobbler" effect if I can put it that way. I was stunned by the simplicity and the straight forward heavenly globs of goo that ensued. Ahhh. You really want to have this in your life.
Barefoot Contessa's Brownie Pudding
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow.
We did add the vanilla bean to the butter as it was melting. Small change but the vanilla will actually have a nice pronounced flavor if you do that. This is a vanilla bean collection. It appears I'm still, somehow, keeping up the bean week theme for this week by using these today...right?! Say yes. Please say yes. They may be the only healthy thing in this post.Cut the bean in half with a sharp knife and add the contents of the bean to the butter...along with the bean.
Be sure to take the bean out of the butter before you put the butter in the batter. Ya know...because that would be just sad.
Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the framboise, if using and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined.
Instead of the alcohol, we used 1/2 tsp of each of these. Amazing! I'm a big fan of the whole new Mix-a-meal line of these Powdered flavorings. I use them in a lot of my homemade cake, cookie and muffin mixes and today I just had to try them in this brownie pudding. I'm totally addicted.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. We did a large pan and then a second batch using 4 smaller loaf pans.Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. (That "halfway up the side" is a key phrase here. If you go too high you will have only chocolate pudding...not brownie pudding. half of the pan will be cooking at a higher temperature than the water, producing that brownie on top!).
Tara also thought it was quite humorous that I had chocolate all over my hands and still managed to take pictures of the pudding. Look...I never claimed I had clean hands while in the Evil Think Tank.
A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding
How evil is that?!
I also managed to put some caramel and chopped chocolate on half of the brownie pudding while it was still warm and it could melt. You know, strictly for scientific reasons. There must be a control side and an evil variation side, right? Only so we could compare flavors. (Wink, wink...)Friends who came by made the ultimate sacrifice...and ate some of the evil thing. Xoxo to Kim.
Hugs to Amy...who didn't stay for the tasting but brought us peaches!
Plus two or three late night chocolate deliveries from the ETT to girls we adore who spoke up on Facebook during the ETT! Xoxo ladies! You soooo got chocolate because you are loved. Plus...it was fun reading comments on Facebook while we created! How fun! It was almost as good as having you all here!
There you go! I love the ETT! We'll be doing this again really soon and look forward to many, many more culinary adventures together. God bless. Big hugs...and keep moving onward and upward!