My last post was a hard thing to talk about, but everyone had such nice things to say and I really do appreciate the kind words. We’re still thinking of Beth every day, but trying to keep moving forward and live life and appreciate all of the things she taught us and did for us. We’re staying busy, to say the least. I’ve been in the kitchen a lot more than usual, that’s for sure, cooking for us but also for others. This weekend, for example, we went to two different barbecues, so I made not only this cake, but a curry marinade for grilled chicken sandwiches and over 100 chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles. The usual. This cake, though, was something else. I impulsively purchased 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from one of my coworkers, and upon seeing the boxes at my desk, I knew I had to get rid of them immediately or else I would inhale them like some kind of animal. Why are we all so addicted to Girl Scout cookies? Are they as good as we think they are or is it just a supply/demand situation? We can’t have them so we love them? I don’t know. Americone Dream ice cream is pretty good, too, and has about as much texture as a Samoa, so what’s our deal? Now I’m part of the problem, I suppose, because I made this meringue-like brownie for a barbecue on Saturday. I wasn’t super sure what to do with two boxes of Thin Mints, but I figured that making a crust out of them was the most straight forward thing to do, aside from my other idea, which was to just stuff them inside of chocolate chip cookies. I make so many chocolate chip cookies, though, so I went with this. The crust is a crunchy Thin Mint cookie situation, the middle is a fudgey brownie, and the top, thanks to four whipped egg whites, is like a delicate meringue. Then I threw some whipped cream and extra crushed cookies from box #2 on top because, well, it’s pretty. If you’re a person that likes a lot of texture in your dessert, this is for you. My friend Amanda and I are really into textured desserts – crunchy, chewy, creamy – we want it all, and this cake delivers. I promise!
Outside of Commander’s Palace.
So, cake aside, here are the last of my photos from my trip to New Orleans from what seems like years ago but really was just earlier this month. I want to go back! Three days is definitely not enough time down there. I also am now dying to plan a trip to Nashville to see how it compares. That’ll have to be for next year, though. In NOLA, we hit up Commander’s Palacee for a fancy lunch, where I will admit I was so hungover from the night before that I couldn’t enjoy one of their famous 25 cent martinis, and instead sucked down Coke after Coke, hoping for redemption in the bottom of every glass. I found it. Coke is my mid-twenties hangover cure. Between the sodas and the shrimp and grits I ordered, I was revived. We walked around a bit, tried to get in to see Nic Cage’s crazy pyramid shaped tomb only to find that the cemetery closed at 3 and we arrived at 3:15, and rode the trolly before heading back to the hotel for a much needed nap, followed by cocktails and snacks at Cure and more wandering around Frenchman Street in search of live music. We ate hot dogs, grabbed a few more beignets and frozen coffees at Cafe Du Monde and, running on fumes and sugar, made it back to the hotel to sleep for a few hours before our respective flights the next day. I was lucky enough to have a later flight unlike my travel companions, so I got some extra sleep and landed in New York rested, but wanting at least a few more hours of listening to jazz and eating seafood. I guess I’ll have to find a jazz club in Rockaway.
Pork rinds at Cure.
Country ham and biscuits.
In my natural habitat.
So – your ingredients.
Crush your cookies and melt your butter for the crust.
Once you’ve spread the crust over the bottom of your pan, put it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
Melt your butter and chocolate, add in the rest of your ingredients, then beat your egg whites and fold them into the chocolate. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until set.
Top your finished and cooled brownie with whipped cream and chopped chocolate and/or crushed cookies.
- 1 box Thin Mint cookies, crushed into fine crumbs
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 7 ounces chocolate, chopped (you can use milk, semisweet or bittersweet, depending on your preference)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- First, make your crust. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan well. In a food processor or blender, pulse your Thin Mint cookies until they form fine crumbs. Melt your 7 tablespoons of butter in a large bowl in the microwave in 30 second spurts, then add your crushed Thin Mints and stir with a spoon to combine. Spread the cookie mixture over the bottom of your pan, then place in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake the rest of the cake.
- Now, make your brownie. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a large sauce pot, melt your butter and chocolate together until smooth over medium heat. Add in your ¾ cup granulated sugar and stir to combine. Remove the mixture from the heat, being careful not to burn the chocolate, and mix for another few minutes, until smooth. Whisk in your egg yolk, cocoa powder, flour and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk your egg whites and sugar together until smooth and glossy, about 3-4 minutes. Fold the whipped egg whites into your chocolate mixture, mixing until just smooth, then pour the batter over your prepared crust. Place your springform pan on a baking sheet (because springform pans always leak - trust me), then place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the center is mostly set. Set aside and allow to cool.
- To make your whipped cream, whisk your heavy whipping cream and vanilla for 3-4 minutes on high with your mixer, until soft peaks form - it's better to underwhip and check the consistency than to overwhip! When you're ready and the brownie has cooled, spoon the whipped cream over the brownie and top with extra chopped chocolate or additional crushed Thin Mints.