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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Adult

Today is shaping up to be a better day.  The drama of my birthday is behind me (kind of), and I am set to go and pick my car up in a little while.  Things are looking up, but I still feel like a little something sweet would help.  Whoever said that sweets don't make you feel better never dug into a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the midst of an emotional crisis.

This morning my cravings were answered when I opened the Dining section of the New York Times and found Melissa Clarks's article on brownies made with olive oil.  This recipe was just too intriguing not to try.  I've made granola with olive oil and it was just delicious, so I thought this brownie recipe could be interesting as well.

If you don't know who Melissa Clark is I urge you to look her up.  She always has a great spin on tried and true recipes, coming up with combinations and enhancements that you never thought of before.  Hence the olive oil in the granola and the olive oil in these brownies.  If nothing else, clearly Melissa Clark is a woman who loves olive oil.

I'm an adventurous cook.  I'll try anything as long as it has a couple of ingredients I've heard of.  You just never know where the next big idea is going to come from.   And it's olive oil for heaven's sake.  What could be bad?

So back to the brownies.  I had everything I needed in the house so I whipped up a batch.  O.M.G. is all I can say.  They are so good.  They're definitely more sophisticated that your average brownie but that's what makes them so special.  They're not the kind of thing your average kid would go for, but not everything is for them anyway.  These are just for you.

Recipe: Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies
(Melissa Clark, NY Times, 2/9/11)

* Note:  In my oven, these brownies took about 40 minutes to bake at 350.


3/4 cup olive oil, plus more to grease pan
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and 1/2 plus 2 tablespoons boiling water until smooth. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla.  Add the sugar, whisking until fully incorporated.  Using a spatula, fold in the flour and salt until just combined.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate pieces.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.  Sprinkle 1 cup of the coconut on top of the batter.  Pour in the remaining batter and smooth.  Top with remaining coconut.  Sprinkle with fleur de sel and bake until just set and firm to the touch, about 25 - 30 minutes (see note).  These brownies solidify as they cool, so inserting a toothpick to check for doneness will not work; it does not come out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and all to cool completely before cutting into 1-inch squares.

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