Alright, we are quite overdue for some decadency on this blog. Two whole posts without mention of sweet has left me in a minor state of withdrawal. To compensate for such a gap of time in which my sugar addiction was left unfed, I have created a seriously chocolate chocolate brownie.
But I should also tell you, I generally hate chocolate, and decadence. Especially chocolatey decadence.
You fool! you’re saying, why would you create something you don’t like? Well, for two reasons. One, I wasn’t in my right mind. In a whirring delirium of desire, I found my palms sweating as I glared at the fridge, hoping for the materialization of dessert. I was surrounded by the laughter of my sugar tins. And I just stood there, blinking. Lost in the fog of a dietary malaise. In my melodramatic condition, I couldn’t think straight. I simply didn’t know what else to do.
Two (and more on the nose, I suppose), I found the perfect way to subdue the sugar bomb that is the Chocolate Brownie. My thought process went like this: chocolate= heavy, rich, thick, intense. Antonyms= light, delicate, playful. What flavor matches these descriptors? Flowers. What type of flower could I pair with chocolate that is also convenient and smells amazing? Lavender.
And then lavender infused butter is conceived. Its the next logical step (jump), you know.
It is a very simple and easy extra step to take in the brownie making process. The lavender already holds a subtle trace of sweetness that provides just enough overlap with the chocolate that they can coexist within the same dessert.
You can find lavender at most any grocery store where there is a bulk spice section. And you hardly need any; the fragrance is quite a punch in the nostrils. I find a solid ratio of be 1 tablespoon of dried lavender to 8 tablespoons of butter. Melt your butter and mix in your lavender. Take it all off the heat and let it sit about 15 minutes. Strain really super well and BAM. You’ve got yourself the secret weapon for making plain chocolate brownies more complex, less overwhelming, and really, dare I say? Better.
These brownies are still incredibly chocolate forward, but the lavender adds a nip of floral that lightens the density of the sugar. Sometimes when I eat a brownie I feel like my tongue is suffocating in a thick gloopy straight jacket of chocolate ferocity. Toasted nuts break up the monotony of the brownie texture and lavender makes the chocolate more like a dessert perfume in your mouth.
Dessert perfume for your mouth. It should sound new and appealing. It certainly placated my fiending sweet tooth.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lavender infused butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Infusing your butter, restated from above:
Melt 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small pan on low heat. Once fully melted, add a leveled tablespoon of lavender, stir to combine. Allow to sit on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool and infuse 15 minutes more. Strain the lavender out of the butter with a fine sieve. Discard lavender. Or, put it in a loose tea bag and dab lightly on your wrists and neck. Butter and flowers? Just imagine how your significant other would react! Just don’t tell me about it.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 inch pan well, and lightly coat with flour. Set aside.
Combine sugar, butter, and unsweetened chocolate into the bowl of a bain marie/double boiler. If you do not know what a bain marie is or do not have a double boiler (I don’t), place ingredients in a metal bowl that fits snugly over the mouth of a pot. On your stove top, fill the pot with 1-2 inches water. Place your bowl of ingredients atop and set water to boil, stirring the ingredients constantly. The steam will heat and melt your ingredients together into one delicious entity that you will want to eat with a spoon right there. You may. Or you may continue with the recipe for brownies.
Once bain marie ingredients are fully melted, remove from the hear and stir to help cool. While you wait for it to cool, toast your almonds in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Set aside and let cool as well.
Once your chocolate mixture has cooled to warm, whisk your eggs and vanilla together and add them to the chocolate.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to chocolate mixture. Once almost fully combined, add nuts and finish stirring.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until brownies pull slightly away from the sides of the pan, and a knife inserted in the middle come out moist, but clean. This will take roughly 25 minutes.
Allow 10-15 minutes to cool, cut and sprinkle gently with powdered sugar for the sake of closure.