Hi, friends, it’s Baby June! and we’re back with another episode of #CookingWithRandomShit and #FMLFridays. Even though it’s not Friday.
But seriously, FML.
|I wish I was half that classy flipping the bird. source|
As a world-renowned banana pudding sommelier and cookie dough enthusiast, I am pleased to present my latest show-stopping creation: the peanut butter chocolate cookie dough-studded dark cocoa brownie with candied almond crust, banana pudding swirls, and hazelnut chocolate drizzle. Plus sprinkles. It really is a culinary miracle.
You may have seen my recent postabout salted dark chocolate Oreo-stuffed white chocolate chip cookie bars with coconut red velvet cheesecake swirls, walnut streusel, and salty caramelized drizzle (plus sprinkles, of course)—a half-assed satire of the food blogging world combined with a dessert of extreme proportions. You might not have liked it. You might have wondered what brand of pot I was smoking. And to that I say, stay away from drugs, kids. You might end up in a mental hospital. You don’t have to be a stoner to enjoy stoner food, as I have beautifully demonstrated a few times already.
But about those Oreo-stuffed cookie bar things; that was fucking fun to make. I mean, it might have been as fun as fucking—no. I take that back. I won’t give you my word (and today the word is cathexis). The whole process, however, incited a giddy schoolgirl-level of happiness—something that is very unusual, these days, so of course I sought to replicate that feeling in another beautiful brownie bar.
Cooking with random shit really is rewarding. You should try it sometime. Maybe I’ll make it an official hashtag.
Anyone with me?
Over the summer, I plan on doing a lot of #CookingWithRandomShit—along with a lot of nothing, sleeping, eating, interneting, nothing, and more nothing. You don’t know how excited I am. I am seriously pumped for all the naps I am going to take. More pumped than Billy Blanks doing Tae Bo.
|Why do I know about this? source|
In a way, my dreams of being able to spend all day making beautiful and over-the-top desserts will be fulfilled. If my mother doesn’t foil my plans with her silly “one cake per week” rule, goddamit. Take, for example, this book:
|*Heavy, sensual breathing* source|
Finally, after countless eons of dutiful and loyal anticipation, I have procured the Sprinkle Bakes cookbook for my own. At last. And it was worth every second. Already, after flipping through nearly all two hundred-some pages of art-inspired baking, I have been inspired to create a 3-D replica of Mona Lisa constructed entirely from madeira cake and homemade marzipan, interpreted in the style of cubism. That will be slightly difficult, but I think I can manage.
Also I would like to make a few dozen of those chocolate balloon bowls—they’re just so simple and elegant and ugh, utterly perfect (much like everything else that Mrs. Baird makes). Although I have a feeling I would mess them up somehow. You know, Pinterest-fail style.
Not only did I purchase that beautifully-photographed, drool-worthy wonder at my trip to the bookstore, but my mother also let me pick up another Benjamin-sucking hardcover: the Flavor Bible!
|This...this is my religion. Hail cake. source|
Hopefully this book will teach me how to cook worth shit. If not, at least I will have some interesting flavor combination ideas for my newest layer cakes. Like white chocolate caviar.
Is caviar vegan? Doesn’t matter; too poor for it anyway.
Maybe I’ll share some of the random shit I’ve baked from those two books later on in the season. For now, let’s enjoy this brownie-esque disaster I’ve already created. Here’s the recipe:
Peanut butter chocolate cookie dough-studded dark cocoa brownies with candied almond crust, banana pudding swirls, and hazelnut chocolate drizzle, plus sprinkles
Makes about three quadrillion servings
Candied almonds (adapted from All Recipes)
60 grams ● water ● ¼ cup
100 grams ● sugar ● ½ cup
4 grams ● ground cinnamon ● ½ tablespoon
143 grams ● almonds, whole ● 1 cup
Almond crust (adapted from Oh She Glows)
107 grams ● candied almonds (see previous instructions) ● ¾ cup
54 grams ● coconut oil ● ¼ cup
60 grams ● maple syrup ● 3 tablespoons
1 gram ● salt ● ¼ teaspoon
250 grams ● oat flour ● ½ cup
500 grams ● rolled oats ● 1 cup
Cookie dough balls (adapted from Center Cut Cook)
113 grams ● Earth Balance, softened ● ½ cup
165 grams ● brown sugar ● ¾ cup, packed
8 grams ● vanilla ● 2 teaspoons
3 grams ● salt ● ½ teaspoon
125 grams ● all-purpose flour ● 1 cup
30 grams ● nondairy milk ● 2 tablespoons
168 grams ● nondairy mini chocolate chips ● 1 cup
Peanut butter brownies (adapted from Vegan in the Freezer)
166 grams ● all-purpose flour ● 1 1/3 cups
86 grams ● dark chocolate cocoa powder ● 1 cup
8 grams ● baking powder ● 2 teaspoons
6 grams ● baking soda ● 2 teaspoons
3 grams ● salt ● ½ teaspoon
330 grams ● brown sugar ● 1 ½ cups, packed
128 grams ● peanut butter ● ½ cup
108 grams ● coconut oil, melted and cooled ● ½ cup
60 grams ● chia seeds ● ¼ cup
180 gram ● water ● ¾ cup
16 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
30 grams ● nondairy milk ● ¼ cup
84 grams ● nondairy mini chocolate chips ● ½ cup
96 grams ● rainbow sprinkles, vegan if desired ● ½ cup
Banana pudding swirls (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
236 grams ● bananas, chopped ● 2 medium fruits
141 grams ● cashews, soaked in boiling water for six hours, drained, and thoroughly blended ● 1 cup
60 grams ● maple syrup ● 3 tablespoons
16 grams ● orange juice ● 1 tablespoon
0.5 gram ● salt ● 1 pinch
Hazelnut chocolate drizzle (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
120 grams ● hazelnuts, without skins (peeling instructions here) or roasted peanuts ● 1 cup
12 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 tablespoon
10 grams ● cocoa powder ● 2 tablespoon
80 grams ● maple syrup ● ¼ cup
1 gram ● salt ● 1/8 teaspoon
8 grams ● coconut oil ● 2 teaspoons
40 grams ● nondairy milk ● ¼ cup
To make candied almonds, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon (amounts under “candied almonds”, mind you) in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in almonds and cook until liquid evaporates and leaves a syrup-like coating on the almonds. Pour the almonds onto a lined baking sheet and separate the almonds using a fork. Allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before using.
To make candied almond crust, combine all ingredients under “almond crust” (including most of the almonds you’ve just made) in a food processor. Blend until as smooth as possible, then press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Make sure you spray the pan before you do that though.
To make cookie dough balls, add softened Earth Balance and brown sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until soft and fluffy and totally creamed. Add vanilla and salt and whip some more. On low speed, spoon in all-purpose flour until combined, then pour in milk and whip until it looks like, you know, cookie dough. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Using your hands, make little tiny cookie dough balls and place on a baking sheet. Put sheet in freezer until you need it later.
To make peanut butter brownies, start by preheating oven to 350 degrees F. Combine chia seeds and water in a bowl and let stand for about five minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk the oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and chia egg until completely combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet just until combined, then add sprinkles and fold some more. Pour batter into baking pan lined with crust. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle cookie dough balls on top. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until they look, eh, done I guess. It hardly matters, since they’re vegan brownies. Allow to cool completely before topping with other ingredients.
To make banana pudding, combine all ingredients under “banana pudding swirls” in a blender or food processor. Smear that gunk all over the brownie cookie dough shit like a boss.
To make hazelnut chocolate drizzle, add peeled hazelnuts to a food processor and blend until they turn into butter. This will take a few minutes. When it happens, add the rest of the ingredients. If the stuff isn’t a consistency ideal for drizzlin’, add a bit of milk, one tablespoon at a time. Drizzle on top of everything else. It’s done. It really is. Cut into three quadrillion pieces and serve.
Now, a few notes about the recipe itself—I was not able to procure hazelnuts because, being a poor little suburban schmuck, I only had the energy to make my dad drive me over to the local supermarket, which has a limited supply of items like that. Wasn’t feeling like venturing across a few town lines to Whole Paycheck, where everything is in stock but it costs an arm and a leg. Therefore I was forced to use peanuts. Like some sort of peasant.
|The peasantry is strong with this one.|
So if you wish, feel free to use peanuts instead of hazelnuts in the so-called “hazelnut chocolate drizzle”. Oh, and by the way—I used a piping bag to squirt that brown stuff on there. Just in case you were wondering.
|Wow, Baby June, that looks, like, so appetizing.|
How did the other components come out? Well, I forgot to add maple syrup to the crust. So there’s that. It was fine, though, although it might be a bit less crumbly if you, um, don’t forget an ingredient.
The peanut butter brownies are just fine with dark cocoa powder, but you could try using regular to prevent excess puffiness when baking. Something something chemistry science something.
I would say the cookie dough is the best aspect of this, if you manage not to eat the entire batch before putting them in the brownies. That…that was sort of difficult.
|Fucking willpower, you know?|
If you prefer, you could add a bit extra syrup to the banana pudding, but other than being a bit on the not-too-sweet side it was just fine. Also—I’m not sure if I should be telling you this—I didn’t soak the cashews in boiling water. Don’t tell anyone.
|Aw, what an adorable sun, amirite?|
So do you remember how I bought that Flavor Bible? Yeah, that. Pretty handy dandy little book, it is. Thus far I have used it to prove that no, dark chocolate does not go with pumpkin, as evidenced by its conspicuous absence underneath pumpkin’s flavor pairings entry. White chocolate, however, goes excellently with the fall squash, therefore one should always use it in pumpkin breads and muffins and other such things. I was right all along. I knew this, people. I have advocated for using white chocolate with pumpkin for decades, and I was right.
But there is a slightly more sobering lesson to learn from this book, and it is that one should not use more than three distinct flavors in a dish, so as to not overwhelm the palate. What a killjoy. That basically throws my hundred-ingredient multi-flavored ten-layered dessert bars out the window. No more twenty-five word recipe titles for me.
In all seriousness, I was mildly aware of this principle given my skepticism of those, you know, hundred-ingredient multi-flavored ten-layered dessert bars. Which then lead me to try creating one myself.
It went pretty okay.
So now I’ve done it again, and out of curiousness I decided to check whether or not my absurd flavor combinations are, indeed, in compliance with the commandments of the Flavor Bible (excluding that little thing about “no more than three flavors”, goddamit). Let’s start with almonds, found in the crust. Do they go with the dark chocolate in those brownies?
Yes. Page 39, in all caps (indicating a particularly good pairing), “chocolate: dark, milk”.
No shit, Baby June. Groundbreaking stuff you’ve got there.
|Please excuse my inability to white balance. I like blue, anyway.|
Now what about that banana puddin’? Does banananana go with chocolate?
Indeed it does. Page 123, in all caps: “bananas”. Fabulous. So bananas go with chocolate goes with almonds. Does banana go with hazelnut? Let us check. And the answer is yes, for fuck’s sake. Page 56, in regular old lowercase: “hazelnuts”. Whoop-de-fucking-do.
In conclusion: almonds go with chocolate goes with bananas go with hazelnuts go with chocolate go with almonds go with—okay I’ll stop. I’m starting to feel a little befuddled, if you know what I mean. But come on, you can’t not be impressed. This here recipe, this is basically fine dining. A bunch of different random ingredients walking together into a bar. Add a smear of ganache, maybe a quenelle of gelato, and you’ve got a $30 plated dessert right there. Fuck, you could add a smear of ganache and a quenelle of gelato to basically anything and it would be a plated dessert.
|Yeah, I could totally do that. Hold my juice. source|
Anyway. It hardly matters. This stuff tastes good, even if you can’t tell what’s in it. A book can’t tell you nothing ‘bout that.