Tag Archives: brownies

Frankenbrownie (or, The Modern Prometheus)

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.


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Brownies 2.0

Happy Bank Holiday weekend!

I decided to spend a little time in the kitchen this weekend and wanted to make something a bit different… But I completely failed to decide what. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? Biscuits? Pie? Anyway, I ran through the entire cookbook library and just couldn’t decide what to make. And then I remembered a picture that somehow ended up in my twitter feed of a brownie with an oreo cookie baked into the centre and it just sounded too good to pass up… And then I thought about splitting the mix – half blondie, half brownie with oreos in the middle. Now we’re onto something…

I love brownies (and my mum makes the world’s best ones) but I also love a blondie – I’ve made the gingerbread-spiced ones from Edd Kimber’s The Boy Who Bakes quite a few times and they are fab – really squidgy and chewy. So combining the two can’t be a bad thing, right? As Mae West said – Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. And who am I to refuse la West?

One thing that can be difficult with brownies is getting the texture right – often they can be too cakey and fluffy or so gooey they don’t actually bear their own weight… They need to have some structure but also have a degree of damp softness. The difference is in the beating – if you work the mix, you’ll start to develop the gluten and get more structure but if you prefer a gooier affair, just gently fold until the mixture combines and no more…

Anyway – I have since found out that what I’ve made is a variation on what is called a ‘slutty brownie’ (a true SB is made with packet mixes – cookie and fudge brownie) but I’m really pleased with this brownie/blondie version even though it needs marginally more work than making up mixes… But it’s actually super easy. I used half-quantities of some go-to recipes, hence the weird quantities of ingredients. Makes a 9″ square pan but if you double up, it’d make a roasting dish worth, I should think.

Two-tone brownies


For the blondie layer:

  • 113g butter
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g plain flour
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

For the brownie layer:

  • 63g butter
  • 160g dark chocolate
  • 13g cocoa powder
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • 130g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs plus an extra yolk
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g white chocolate, 40g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Plus a pack of oreos – original, chocolate, double stuffed… Whatever, darling.

You could make both layers at once if you’re more organised and dextrous than I am but I made the brownie one first, put it in the tin and then made the blondie and combined them. But whatever you think most sensible.

First though, butter and line a 9″ square baking tin and preheat the oven to 180C (fan).

For the brownie layer:

Melt the butter together with the dark chocolate and the cocoa in a saucepan and whisk together oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a bowl until well-combined. Add the rest of the ingredients to the whisked mixture and fold to combine and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Pour this into the bottom of your roasting dish and place the oreos on top in a regular fashion – you should hopefully be able to fit them all in! If not, just eat the remaining ones as you go, I won’t tell anyone.

For the blondie layer:

Again, melt the butter and when melted, add the sugar, stirring constantly, until combined. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes and then add the eggs and fold in the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the chocolate and pour over the top of the oreos/brownies. It might need a little coaxing to get it into the corners but it will hopefully cover it all!

Bake for about 30 minutes but do have a look after 25 or so. If you poke a skewer into the middle it should be wet with crumbs clinging on, but not totally liquid, if that makes sense… It’ll solidify as it cools so definitely err on the side of gooey. As if I needed to tell you that.

Leave it for a good while to cool down and firm up before cutting into squares – makes around 25 mini- or 16 regular-sized portions (but, frankly, a mini one might be a better idea as they are very sweet and rich! Pace yourself and have two.)



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