It’s tough living in a bakery. While I used to be satisfied with a pretty common mid night snack of say, a spoonful of peanut butter or some string cheese, I’ve recently been waking up to stomach pangs and cravings for blackberry crisp and toffee pecan brownies. I know, I know, it sounds a little involved and indulgent for 3:30 a.m., but when you already have the stuff lying around, it really only takes a few commercial breaks to throw this stuff together.

Maybe you don’t know me, but I’m high strung, lazy and glutenous. This combination of characteristics makes for a very confused individual, with no choice but to be extremely impulsive and indulgent. I would not describe myself as “laid back”, ever. However, I do like T.V. Preferably reality, and the trashier the better. The day I figured out that I could make a fabulous dessert while watching Rock of Love, and not miss a single catfight, was the first day of the rest of my life. Since this new revolution, I’ve made an art out of baking and doing 72 other things at the same time. Here is my recipe for Commercial Break Brownies, and an even more fabulous modification at the end for Pecan Toffee Ice cream sandwiches. This recipe is an adaptation from the Tartine Bakery cookbook. The trick for these suckers is to have all your ingredients measured out and your chocolate melting before your show starts…

Commercial Break Brownies

Oven 350, 9″x13″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1# chocolate, preferably 64% or higher, Callebaut, Valrohna or Scharfen Berger
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp a.p. flour
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter and chocolate together, either over a double boiler, or in the microwave at 45 second intervals, stirring in between. Let cool completley(…otherwise you’ll deflate your eggs and since there is no other leavener in this recipe, you wouldn’t want to do that.)

Sift flour, set aside. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until full volume. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes, or the first part of your fave show. Fold the cooled chocolate into the eggs and before it’s fully incorporated, add the sifted flour. Fold gently being careful not to deflate the eggs. Pour batter into the greased baking dish, and bake until the top is shiny, slightly cracked, and puffy, about 25. These brownies are so fudgy that a knife will not come out clean when they are done, but they will set up while cooling.

Because these brownies freeze so well, I’ve been known to eat them straight out of the freezer, which compelled me to throw together the following tasty treat: Split brownie batter between 2 lined, sprayed 11″x17″ baking sheets, and bake about 7 minutes. After cooling, transfer to the freezer. Melt an additional 1/2# chocolate. Spread evenly over the top of one brownie sheet and sprinkle with chopped pecans and heath bars. Return to freezer.Remove the parchment paper from the other brownie sheet, and line the pan with plastic wrap. Let there be a lot of overhang here, so that you can wrap the plastic up over the top later. Place the frozen brownie sheet on top of the plastic lined sheet and spread 3 quarts softened vanilla ice cream evenly on top. (Best way to soften is to beat the ice cream with the paddle attachment in your mixer until spreadable.) Top with the pecan toffee brownie sheet and wrap tightly with the overhanging plastic wrap. Return to freezer and allow to set up for at least 4 hours before cutting them into 18 bars. Yum.

66 Responses to “Commercial Break Brownies”

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