So now you get to see what the surprise is. Sure, you could de-pan the brownies, cut, serve and eat them just as they are. But here we are on the day-after-National-Chocolate-Day, and Valentine’s Day is around the corner of the calendar. So let’s gussy them up. Too, this method of finishing them give you a lot of pieces, so you really can spread the wealth without a lot of effort.
We’re going to cut the brownies into 1″ cubes which we’ll then dip into melted white chocolate. Then we’ll dust them with chili powder and some gold-colored luster dust. That they will be elegant goes without saying. The flavors layer on your palate such as few other sweet treats: dense, dark chocolate with bright orange notes, wrapped in sweet-ish white chocolate. The finish of a touch of chili powder at the end will widen your eyes in surprise.
SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT YOU’LL NEED
A small metal spatula or paring knife
A cake cardboard or cutting board
A ruler (mine is red and says, “A rule to prevent forest fires…Smoky’s friends don’t play with matches”; my son received it in first grade)
A long, flat-bladed serrated knife
A warm, damp towel
2 packages of Candy Coating, also sometimes called Almond Bark (found in the baking section of grocery stores or the cake decorating section of craft stores)
A stainless steel bowl
A pot of water
A teaspoon of chili powder
A teaspoon of gold colored Luster Dust (found in the cake decorating section of craft stores)
Short skewers or toothpicks
A sheet of parchment
Baking sheet lined with parchment
- Start the chocolate melting. If you can find it in disk shapes, great; if not, chop up the blocks with a knife and put them in the stainless steel bowl. It should be narrow and deep enough so you can dip the brownie cubes all the way to their tops. Set it over simmering water to melt while you prepare the brownies.
- Unwrap the baking pan. Save the plastic wrap and re-use it. Run a narrow metal spatula or a paring knife around the edge of the baking pan just to be sure nothing is stuck. Set a cake cardboard (I always have the 10″ round size on hand) or use a cutting board, upside down over the brownies. Invert the pan, lift it away, and peel the parchment off the bottom of the brownies. Carefully turn it right side up on a large work surface.
- The sides are never perfect, and the pan I used was slightly slanted, so I’m going to trim straight down 1/2″ from the top edge, all the way around, creating an 8″ x 8″ square.
- Using my ruler, I’m going to mark 2 perpendicular sides at 1″ intervals. I’ll carefully plant my knife, beginning with the mark, then cutting straight down through the brownies. I’m going to use my warm, wet towel to wipe the blade after each cut so that sticky crumbs from each slice are not transferred to the next slice. Each slice wants to have perfectly clean edges.
- Once I’ve made 7 cuts in one direction, I will gently scootch all the brownies back into a square, then do the same process in the other direction so that I have 64 1-inch squares.
- This would be a good time to give the white chocolate a stir and see how close it is to being ready. All lumps must be melted before your begin dipping.
- Insert a short skewer or toothpick in the center of each brownie cube.
- Set a piece of parchment next to the brownies. Measure some chili powder and gold-colored luster dust into small bowls right next to the brownies. Once the white chocolate is completely melted, set it and the pot over which it was melted (so the chocolate stays melted longer) also near the brownies.
- One at a time, pick up each brownie cube and immerse it in the white chocolate. Gently rock it around in a circular movement to cover most of the top of each one. Yes, some crumbs will shed into the white chocolate. Don’t worry about it; they’ll end up on the sides of the brownies and look artful. Carefully lift each one out of the white chocolate and set them in rows on the parchment.
- You want to garnish with the chili powder and luster dust before the white chocolate sets up completely, so stop dipping when you’ve dipped half of the brownies. Pinch up some chili powder and dust it over the rows of dipped brownies. Follow with the luster dust. Let white chocolate finish setting up at room temp. While it is setting up, return the pot of water and bowl of white chocolate to medium heat because the chocolate will have begun to firm up.
- Transfer the dipped brownies to a baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside.
- Stir the white chocolate to be sure it is evenly softened again. Repeat first process with the remaining brownies.
- Once all have firmed up, package them as you like. Wish a Happy Valentines Day to those you love.
- P.S. These make lovely gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day. . . any special event for someone you care for. Because making food is always an act of love.