Whew, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but I did. You've probably been wondering where I've been all October. There were those mouth-watering Spice Crumble Brownies and then nothing.
Well, I've been trapped in IKEA, surviving on $1 hotdogs and frozen yogurt, fountain pop and Swedish meatball combo meals and sleeping in the Malm showroom after hours. Earlier this morning, I finally managed to dig myself out of a stack of area rugs and stagger into the warehouse. I flagged down an unsuspecting employee with an empty cart, who gave me a ride to the checkout. When I saw the plastic bag dispensers, I knew I was home free.
Actually, we just moved. Again. So naturally we spent a few weekends at IKEA checking out the latest and greatest in affordable Swedish design. Nearly everyone I know claims to have outgrown IKEA and graduated to real furniture from real stores. Those same people usually still have some key IKEA items they'd be sad to give up.
Our 2nd landlord in Paris was an Italian from Argentina (or was it an Argentinean from Italy?). All I know is we made out the rent cheques to Henz, which doesn't sound very Italian or Argentinean to me. This guy was really into red and IKEA, and especially red things from IKEA. Everything in our apartment was IKEA: couch, lamps, bookcases, dressers, light fixtures, dishes, cupboards, right down to the candles on the table. It was all very...unFrench.
I don't know about you, but mousse (of any flavour) is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of IKEA. Billy bookcases and Antifoni lamps, maybe. Or those TV commercials from a few years back where a suited Swede chastises viewers for feeling sad for a lamp abandoned on the sidewalk. Or even those aforementioned $1 hotdogs. So it struck me as somewhat odd to discover an IKEA recipe for chocolate mousse lying on a counter in the Swedish import store.
Surprisingly good though. Make-again good even.
150 grams (just under 5.5 ounces) dark chocolate
2 ounces strong coffee or espresso
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon orange peel, finely grated
4 tablespoons whipping cream
Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over boiling water until it melts. Remove from heat.
Mix in the coffee and stir until smooth. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring between each. Mix in the orange peel.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into a hard foam.
Fold one scoop of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in a second scoop of egg whites to lighten the mixture even further. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold just until incorporated.
Spoon the mousse into serving dishes and refrigerate to set.
Top with whipped cream before serving.
Casual Baker Notes: Since there's no sugar added, the sweetness of your mousse depends solely on the chocolate you choose. I went with 70% dark chocolate, which made for a fairly pucker-worthy dessert.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
It's almost criminal how long I've kept these spiced up brownies a secret from you.
The story begins sometime back in June, somewhere after Spain but before Canada. After flitting back to Paris between each leg of our journey, we are saying goodbye for good (or at least the foreseeable future). One of our last nights in town, L. hosts a farewell potluck dinner. I offer to make dessert (shocking, I know). With all my cookbooks packed in boxes here, there and everywhere but L.'s living room, I cruise her bookshelves for inspiration and soon settle on a chocolate cake with cinnamon crumb topping.
Before long, there’s a mighty fine scent emanating from the four électrique on her bedroom floor.* While the end product meets with approval around the table later that evening, the dry crumbly texture is a far cry from the dense cake I'd envisioned.
Fast forward to August in Vancouver. I'm skulking (or was it sulking?) around the kitchen looking for something to eat and thinking about things to bake. Brownies seem good but dull, and that's when I have my light bulb moment.
A little sugar here, a little spice there and one pan of delicious brownies later, it almost comes to fisticuffs when dessert rolls around. In the end, R. violates every rule in the book when he refuses to take a square from the end of a row and instead cuts straight to the heart of the brownie. Bold move.
A few weeks later, I’m just getting around to the blogging part when Deb over at Smitten Kitchen posts her take on the spiced up brownie. Foiled!
But I can only keep a secret this juicy for so long. Today’s the day.
* Taking sweet dreams to a whole new level
Spice Crumble Brownies
3/4 cup butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Spice Crumble Topping:
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line the bottom of an 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the brownies by melting butter and chocolate over low heat until smooth.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared plan.
Prepare the spice crumble topping by combining the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the butter and blend the mixture using a pastry blender and/or your fingertips.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the brownie batter.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until the brownies are cooked but still slightly gooey in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting.
Labels: Bars and squares