Sunday, February 04, 2024

Cosmic Brownies with Date Chocolate Frosting


I wanted to try this date-sweetened chocolate frosting on something, and decided to use these homemade cosmic brownies as a base, simply making the date frosting instead of the ganache. This was a hit with my kids! While the brownies were thick and pleasantly fudgy, I found them too sweet, and wonder in hindsight whether the original ganache would have tamed them a bit, considering that there was no sweetener beyond what is already in the chocolate… In any case, this was really good.

For the brownies
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (180 g) high quality cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour (gluten-free if needed)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. corn starch
¼ cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a light metal pan; line it with parchment paper on the bottom and edges to create a sling and grease again. (A dark metal pan might cause the brownies to bake too quickly, while glass pans tend to be too slow and get the edges too dark before the center is baked.)

In a large microwave-safe bowl (I used a double boiler), put the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, then microwave for 30 seconds more. Carefully remove bowl from microwave and stir until smooth. Let cool for 2-3 minutes.

To the butter and sugar mixture, stir in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch. Once combined, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined (it is better to do this by hand, or on the slow speed of a stand mixer, to avoid overmixing). Stir in vegetable oil.

Spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan until smooth. Bake at 350 °F for 24-26 minutes or until center looks set and no longer jiggles when you gently shake the pan (do not overbake). Let cool completely in the pan.

For the date-sweetened chocolate frosting
1 cup tightly packed pitted dates (if they are dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain)
¼ cup warm water
2/3 cup unsalted cashew butter (I used almond butter)
½ cup cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder, sifter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt (optional)
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil (if avoiding oil, sub more water or cashew butter)
rainbow sprinkles of your choice, for garnishing the brownies

Add the pitted dates to a food processor with the “S” blade attached. Pulse until very small bits remain or they form into a ball. Add warm water and pulse again until they form a loose paste that appears like caramel, scraping down sides as needed.

Add cashew butter, cacao powder, vanilla, and sea salt and pulse again until the mixture is well combined. Scrape down sides.

Add coconut oil and mix again until a smooth paste forms — it should be thick but spreadable like frosting! If chunky or dry, add more oil as needed. Use immediately (if you prefer a firmer frosting, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight, but with these brownies, it shouldn’t be an issue).

Spread on the brownies, then top with rainbow sprinkles and serve.

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