For Halloween, our bakers have a chance to show off their decorating skills with some milk chocolate malted brownies with chocolate ganache. Posting date is October 23.
In the Oven: Milk Chocolate Malted Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
Serves: 36 to 48 mini brownies
- For the Brownies
- 1¼ cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (70 g) malted milk powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces (170 g) milk chocolate (40 to 60% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces (115 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- For the Chocolate Ganache
- 6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- For the Royal Icing
- 3 to 4 cups (340 to 450 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Blue, yellow, red, and black food dyes or gels (optional)
Make the Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position a rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper so that it overhangs about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the long sides of the pan, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, and salt.
- Place both chocolates and the butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted, smooth, and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and let the brownies cool completely.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and heat just until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Pour the warm chocolate ganache over the cooled brownies in the pan and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Allow the ganache to sit for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate for another 15 minutes to set completely.
- Using a small paring knife, release the brownies from the sides of the pan and pull straight up on the parchment to remove them from the pan, then place the brownies onto a cutting board and remove the parchment. Place the brownies in the freezer for 30 minutes (this will make them easier to cut). Run a chef’s knife under hot water, wipe dry, and cut the brownies into 36 to 48 bite-size pieces (or smaller—these brownies are rich).
Make the Royal Icing
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar, the egg whites, and lemon juice until the mixture is completely smooth. The mixture should have the texture of a thick glaze. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is thick enough to hold its shape when piped. Divide the icing into four bowls. Royal icing will begin to harden when exposed to air. If you are not using a particular color, make sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or place the icing in a pastry bag and cover the tip.
- Leave one bowl white for skulls and ghosts. In another bowl, create a black icing (about 8 drops of black gel or 2 drops each of blue, yellow, and red dye) for outlines and eyes. In the other two bowls, we recommend mixing orange for pumpkins and green for embellishments (green eyes are spooky). Put each color in its own pastry bag fitted with the smallest tip. (Pastry bags provide more control, but, if needed, you can fill four zip-tight plastic bags and cut a small corner from the bottom of each.) In essence, you want to pipe and fill all of your base layers first, then go back and add your final embellishments. (It is more difficult to decorate each brownie from start to finish.)
- For skulls and ghosts: Pipe on the shapes of skulls or ghosts in white and allow them to harden for a few minutes (see photo 1). Then fill them in completely (see photo 2). Gently pipe final embellishments (eyes, mouths, etc.) directly on top of the white icing with any other color you like (see photos 3 and 4).
- For pumpkins: Pipe on the shape of the pumpkins (not the stem) in orange and allow to harden for a few minutes (see photo 1), then fill them in completely. Gently pipe on the stem in green.
- Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.
[i]How to store[/i]: The brownies will keep, tightly covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 4 days.