Double-Double Toil and Black Magic Brownies
Can I just say I'm SO excited to be directing an outdoor production of Shakespeare's ominous "Scottish Play" this summer? Well . . . in case you were wondering . . . I AM! Tomorrow is our first cast read-through and as per usual, I think events such as these are always better with food. With wild aspirations, I had planned a theme menu derived from the play's concept (set in a down-and-dirty 1920s New Orleans locale rather than cold and dreary Scotland) complete with jambalya, gumbo, and pralines. Time and other obligations, however, got between me and this ambitious banquet for 18. (I'll deliver for the cast party though . . . I promise.) While I'm fairly certain free pizza and sodas will satisfy the appetites of the cast of (mostly) starving college students, I did want to make special treat just for them. Taking stock of the fridge and pantry, I found an abundance of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and crème fraîche. Ahhh . . . sweet inspiration. I decided to make a baked-homage to the play's themes of light and darkness in the form of a dense, chewy brownie with a tangy cream filling. Double, double, toil and yum.
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla, divided
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 3/4 c. flour, divided
- 1/2 c. crème fraîche
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 1 egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly spray a silicon or muffin tin and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and granulated sugar over medium heat. Stir frequently to keep sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Remove from heat. Whisk in cocoa powder until incorporated. Add eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla and whisk into mixture until batter is smooth. Add salt, baking powder, and 1 1/2 c. flour and whisk to combine. Set aside. In a small bowl combine crème fraîche, 1/4 c. flour, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, 1 tsp. vanilla, and egg yolk. Stir to combine.
Fill each muffin cup halfway with brownie batter. With the back of a teaspoon, make a small indentation in the center of each brownie dollop then fill with about a tea spoon full of crème fraîche mixture. Top each crème fraîche layer with a small dollop of brownie batter. Bake in oven about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven. Cool brownie cups in the pan for about ten minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely. Eat with milk . . . or witches. Whichever you prefer.
Recipe yields about 18 brownie cups.