Brownie Bites

brownie bites

Is there an easier way to say “I love you” than homemade brownies?

Well, maybe, but since these brownie bites do the trick so nicely, I’m probably not really going to bother to look.

What I have searched for is the perfect brownie recipe, and happily stumbled upon this one a year or two ago from Chasing Delicious.  You can read all about the evolution of the recipe here, but what you really need to know is that these brownie bites are crazy good. The tops are sleek and glossy, the sides are crisp and chewy, and the centers are dense and fudgy.  They instantly became a household favorite.

Their flavor is more chocolatey than sweet, so while the bites are terrific on their own, they also make a great foundation for a dessert bar –  they are so versatile you can tailor them to nearly any taste or occasion.  Served with ice cream and, say, a salted carmel or marshmallow sauce, they make wonderful brownie sundaes.  Or forgo the ice cream, add a drizzle of creme anglaise, then go nutty by garnishing with spiced pecans or walnuts. For chocolate fanatics, try topping the bites with hot fudge sauce and bourbon-spiked chocolate whipped cream.  To keep them finger-friendly for a buffet, crown them with piped meringue, then lightly brown the meringue with a kitchen torch.

A word of advice about these brownie bites – they never last long.  Although in theory 36 brownie bites should be enough to sustain a household of two adults for two days, alas, somehow it never is.  If you are making them to share (and you totally should), I recommend a double batch.

row of brownie bites

Brownie Bites
Makes 36 bites.  Adapted from Chasing Delicious, here.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 325℉.  Lightly butter mini muffin pans.  Place pans on a baking tray and set aside.

Place the butter in the top portion of a double-boiler over simmering water (you can also use a medium heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water).  When about a third of the butter has melted, add in the cocoa powder and chocolate, stirring occasionally.  When about two thirds of the butter has melted, add in the sugar and salt. Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate are completely melted – when mixed well, it will still appear gritty in texture.

Remove the top portion of the double-boiler (or bowl) from heat and let cool for five minutes.  Add vanilla and mix through.  Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Add flour and mix  through until fully incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared mini muffin pans, filling each well until it is just even with the top.  Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 18 – 22 minutes – the tops will be set and shiny, and a toothpick inserted in the center will be slightly moist with batter, but not runny.  Remove the pans from the baking tray.  Allow the bites to cool in the pans for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The brownie bites will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Mocha Ice Pops

I’ve been in a coffee sort of mood.  Iced coffee, specifically.  With a hint of chocolate. Frozen.  On a stick.

I’ve got a few different ice pop molds, and have made tons of frozen treats, but never any with coffee. This baffles me, and must be rectified.  Like, immediately.  After a little research, it looks as though David Lebovitz has my solution, in the form of his Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles. Alas, no chocolate in these, but perhaps someone else has shared my dilemma?  A little more research reveals that Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen has adapted the recipe to include cocoa – jackpot!

Since I wanted to use cold-brewed coffee (my most recent obsession), I completed that step the night before.  This recipe for cold-brewed iced coffee comes from The New York Times, and it is simply delicious.  For the ice pops, I doubled the recipe and stopped at the part after the coffee is strained twice – you will have a bit of coffee concentrate left over.

I also used a combination of heavy whipping cream and whole milk in place of the sweetened condensed milk.  You can add a bit more sugar or cocoa powder, to taste, but be careful not to add more than a spoonful or two, or the pops will not freeze solidly. Superfine sugar (also called caster or baker’s sugar) is a fine, granulated sugar, terrific for dissolving quickly in cool beverages, but you can swap it out for regular granulated sugar if you don’t have it on hand.

Finally, I dipped the tops of half the pops in chocolate vermicelli for a little extra chocolate oomph.

Icy, mocha refreshment – achieved!

Mocha Ice Pops
Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen, here.

2 cups cold-brewed coffee concentrate
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
3 ounces whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
4 tablespoons superfine sugar
chocolate vermicelli, for garnish

In a large beaker or bowl with a pouring spout, mix the coffee concentrate with the heavy cream and milk.  Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla powder and sugar, stirring well to fully incorporate.  Taste and adjust as desired.

Pour into popsicle mold (makes about eight 2 1/2 ounce pops), insert sticks, and place on a level surface in the freezer.  Freeze overnight for best results.

I find it is easiest to remove the pops from the molds all at one time.  To loosen, fill a pan or sink with warm water up to the top of the mold.  Place the mold in the water for a minute or two, then slowly remove pops from the mold.  If you are garnishing the pops with the chocolate vermacelli, dip each in a light dusting and gently shake of the excess.  Place them individually in small cello or plastic bags and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.

The pops will keep for up to two weeks in the freezer.