Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mini Baked Alaska-ish Dessert

Today is our 8th anniversary and I wanted to make a fun individual dessert so I came up with these mini baked Alaska desserts. I decided to go with a brownie bottom (chocolate cake would be terrific also) topped with vanilla ice cream. Then I added meringue and toasted it under the broiler. It was delicious!

For the brownie:
Suzanne's Best Brownies Recipe
adapted from simplyrecipes.com

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the brownies out of the pan when they are done.
Combine the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in a wide saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisk the butter cocoa mixture until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring quickly after each one. When the batter looks shiny, thick, and well mixed, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon. Spread the batter evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out just slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment paper liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 egg whites

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup water and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil until sugar is dissolved about 3 minutes. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, drizzle in the sugar syrup, then beat on high speed until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes.

To assemble

Take one completely cooled brownie square and add one small scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Cover entire surface with meringue. You may freeze for up to an hour...much longer and the brownie will become hard. Preheat the broiler. Broil the cakes until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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