Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Snap that resolution right in half
with so-worth-it Banana Split Brownies

If you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, I’m here to help to snap that resolution right in half.
   This recipe is worth it, believe me.
   Banana Split Brownies (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine are heavenly.
   Besides – all things in moderation, right?
   These brownies will be loved immediately by everyone, adults and children. The brownies’ slight “banana tang,” as my husband called it, sets it wonderfully apart from all other brownie recipes out there.
   The very pleasant banana flavor comes from real bananas, not banana flavoring as one of the brownies’ tasters wanted to know.
   Did I mention there’s a chocolate ganache and mini-marshmallow topping? Oh, yes. This fun dessert just keeps getting better and better.
   These brownies have a few more steps than your average brownie recipe, but they’re certainly not hard to make.
   The first part of the recipe calls for melting butter in a three-quart saucepan, then adding the rest of the ingredients to the butter in the saucepan.
   I didn’t do that. I opted for melting butter in the saucepan and letting it cool as directed, but then I poured it into in a mixing bowl and added the rest of the ingredients to the butter in bowl.
   The butter is melted in a saucepan over medium heat until it smells nutty and turns golden, about four to five minutes. The pan is removed from the heat and left to cool for five minutes.
   The butter is transferred to a bowl (or left in the pan), and sugar, salt, eggs, mashed overripe banana, vanilla, cocoa powder and flour are added and the mixture whisked together.
   The batter is spread in a nine-inch square metal baking pan that was been lined with foil. After baking the brownies are left to cool.
   To make the ganache topping, heavy cream (I used whipping cream) is brought to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boiling cream is always tricky business, as it can burn easily. My advice is to stir it constantly and take it off the heat at the first signs of large bubbles.
   The saucepan is removed from the heat and chopped banana is stirred into the cream. The mixture is left to steep for one hour.
   Finely-chopped semisweet or mildly bittersweet chocolate is put in a medium heatproof bowl. (I used semisweet chocolate chips to speed things up a bit.)
   The cream with the banana in it is brought to a boil again, then strained through a fine-mesh strainer held directly over the bowl of chopped chocolate. The banana is discarded, and the chocolate mixture is left to stand for one minute. It is then stirred until smooth.
   The ganache is poured evenly over the cooled brownies, then covered with mini marshmallows and sliced almonds.
   The brownies are broiled to brown the tops of the marshmallows. This takes mere seconds, so be very careful. The 20 seconds suggested for a rotation in the recipe is actually too much time – I checked my brownies after just 10 seconds about six inches under the broiler, and the marshmallows were perfectly toasted.
   The brownies are cooled until the ganache and marshmallows set. Using the foil overhang, the brownies are removed from the pan and cut into squares.

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