It’s been a tricky few weeks! So my wonderful boyfriend and partner in crime treated me to a copy of the fabulous book “Outsider Tart: Baked in America” by Davids Muniz and Lesniak, the owners of our favourite bakery just down the road, Outsider Tart. If you’ve not been, darling, go. It’s more than worth the trip to wild West London – they do brunch and all sorts of exciting meals, have an adorable general store-type area with goodies from across the pond and the most amazing coffee and cakes of all kind.
The cakes. Good lord.
They span the full spectrum of gooey to sticky to crumbly to JUST GIVE IT TO ME NOW. All served in extremely generous slabs that will keep you going all afternoon. I can particularly recommend the NYC Crumb Cake with its hit of cinnamon and crumbly brown sugar goodness and the incredibly sticky, caramel-topped Snickers Brownies (do not wear your Sunday best to eat one of these).
Over the last couple of weekends I’ve been trying out recipes from the book – loads of really tempting, interesting ideas – and often they’re regional American treats that I’ve never heard of, let alone tried before. So when I saw a recipe for something called a Mile High Brownie, I had to give it a go… If I have one criticism of the book, it’s that it’s quite light on photos of the finished articles so I had to follow the recipe without really knowing what it was supposed to look like in the end…
So what is a Mile High Brownie? Well, its momma was a cookie and its daddy was a brownie and they made one freaky (but delightful) offspring… Imagine a crust that’s halfway between cookie and blondie, a layer of fudgy chocolate filling and more crust crumbled on top, it’s a real Frankenstein’s monster of a cake (hence the title of this post). I tweaked the recipe a bit as I forgot to get a couple of things – the authentic version has fruit, nuts and bran mixed into the chocolate but I didn’t have these so I substituted shredded coconut and blitzed-down porridge oats to give it some structure. Here’s the recipe for my version:
Frankenbrownie – a cake of many parts.
For the crust:
- 380g plain flour
- 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1tsp salt
- 225g unsalted butter at room temp
- 450g soft light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
- 250g rolled oats
For the chocolate filling
- 1 small can condensed milk
- 350g chocolate (I used fairly basic dark chocolate here – milk might be too sickly)
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 75g rolled oats, blended into a fine powder in the food processor
- 125g shredded coconut
This makes a massive batch – enough to fill a standard roasting tin and cuts into about 20 decent size squares.
Line a roasting tin (9 x 12 inches or thereabouts) with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 180C (or fan equivalent).
For the crust – combine the flour, bicarb and salt in a bowl and set to one side. Cream the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and add the vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture a little at a time until just combined and fold in the oats. It will look like cookie dough. Take about 2/3 of the dough and press into the base of the roasting tin firmly to form a nice flat crust. Pop the remaining dough into the fridge wrapped in cling film.
In a bowl over just steaming water, melt together the chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. It might start to thicken but don’t be alarmed! It’s supposed to look like chocolate fudge. Take off the heat and add the coconut and oats.
Spread this sticky mixture evenly over the base and get the remaining dough out of the fridge – crumble it as best you can into little pieces and sprinkle evenly over the chocolate, there should be some little gaps but mostly covered. Bake for about 30 mins until the topping is looking golden brown and slightly crispy. Leave them to cool in the tin and cut into sensible-looking squares.