Those of you not living under a rock might have heard of a little thing called Hurricane Sandy, which just wreaked havoc on NYC and surrounding areas. Luckily my Bed-Stuy neighborhood is just about the safest place to hunker down and myself and most of my friends faced no real damage. Some of us didn’t even lose power. However, with the shutdown of mass transit, work was called off yesterday and today at the museum where I work. As a result I’ve been going a little stir-crazy and decided to channel that into a Sandy-inspired baked good.
This recipe is the result of incorporating an old standby for the main melt-in-your-mouth brownie component (adapted from one included in this amazing cookie cookbook) and some on-the-spot improvisation for the remainder. Because of that, I approximated a lot of the ingredients and quantities, but tried to be as accurate as possible in providing the recipe. I should mention that I’m not exactly a perfectionist baker most of the time, which is why I don’t spend a lot of time attempting soufflés or french macarons. I choose more forgiving options. That said, I’ve done enough baking at this point that I know when I can afford to be more haphazard with my measurements and last-minute additions (for example, I rarely level off my flour or spices when measuring, and have taken to sprinkling sea salt on just about everything I bake). But anyway, all of that makes it a little hard to describe what I did clearly, which is why I included shots of most steps in the above slideshow. Now please, batten down the hatches and open your trap for…
Chocolate brownie:8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s baking squares)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup thin pretzel sticks, broken in bits (optional but strongly encouraged*) *Don’t trust my pretzel photo because I only had large puffier pretzels at my disposal. I lightly crushed them but they were still not the desired consistency in the end. I don’t anticipate problems if you use the thin variety. White chocolate swirl:2 ounces white chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 egg white
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (Probably? Adjust to your liking, I added a couple handfuls to the desired lumpiness)
For the chocolate brownie:
Using a double-boiler, melt butter and chocolate together (I use a metal bowl set over a small pot of simmering water). When melted and smooth, remove from heat and add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add eggs and mix thoroughly (all of this can be done by hand using a wooden spoon). Finally add the flour and mix vigorously until well-incorporated (the batter should start to pull away from the bowl slightly).
For the white chocolate batter:
Add butter and chips to a glass dish and melt together in 30-second intervals in the microwave (60-90 seconds total). Stir in sugar completely, and then egg white. Lastly, stir in flour and coconut. It should be about the same consistency of the chocolate batter, but lumpier from the coconut.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray an 8 x 8 cake pan. Pour about half (or a tad less) of the chocolate batter into the pan and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the pretzel bits over the brownie batter in the pan. Add a few dollops of the white chocolate batter to this layer, and then pour the remaining chocolate batter over the top (try to smooth it gently so that the pretzels and white chocolate underneath are not visible.
Now add the remaining white chocolate batter to the top in scattered dollops (no need to be precious about it). Using a toothpick and starting in the center of the pan, gently swirl the dollops around and outward to create your “hurricane”, repeating the motion as needed to achieve the desired effect.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.