Part X: Flamethrower

18 May


Brownies are a pretty non-controversial, non-revolutionary thing.  Aside from the eternal nuts vs. no nuts debate (the answer is no nuts, and don’t you forget it), and the occasional “I put chili powder somewhere in there, let’s have a damn parade”, no real, substantial strides have been made in the brownie universe.  I’ve decided to do something about that.  Something’s missing from brownies, and it’s not white chocolate or cream cheese.  It’s dangerous, fire-producing hardware.  There’s nothing exciting about making a pan of brownies.  Waiting for them to come out?  Sure, exciting.  Eating the damn things? Awesome.  But actually making them?  Boring as shit.  Put a few things in a bowl, stir, pour, yawn.  The missing ingredient is risk.  Nobody’s ever gotten killed making brownies, and I don’t think anyone ever will.  But damned if I won’t try, or at least bring mankind a few steps closer.  That’s why I’m putting a blowtorch into the equation.  And I’m gonna make it taste delicious along the way.  Brownies Brûlée with Earl Grey Ganache are coming your way.  Get ready for some Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats.

Here’s what you need:


-1/3 cup of sugar (for the Brûlée part)

-2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (yes, you’re gonna have to weigh some stuff because I got too lazy to measure it myself.  Pipe down.)

-A stick of softened, unsalted butter

-1 cup sugar

-2 eggs

-1/2 cup AP flour

-Pinch of salt

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


-9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

-1 cup heavy cream

-2 bags Earl Grey tea

Here’s how you make it:

Start by preheating your oven to 350.


Put your chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, and keep it there until the chocolate’s melted.  Give it a stir once in a while, too.  Once the chocolate’s not so solid anymore, take it off the heat and keep stirring until everything’s smooth.


Next, pour all that into a bowl and stir in a cup of sugar.  Beat in your eggs after that (one at a time, don’t throw them all in at once).


Add flour, vanilla, and salt.  Stir it in gently.  That means you still wanna see some bumps in there, don’t make it totally smooth.  It also means don’t take out your sexual frustrations on the damn thing.  Just because Oprah told you last week that chocolate can make you regain your womanhood doesn’t mean you need to go all G.I. Jane on your batter.

Spray a brownie pan with some nonstick, pour the batter in, and shove that thing in the oven for about 22 minutes.

While that’s baking, it’s ganache time.

Pour your cream in a small saucepan, steep the tea bags in it for 10 minutes, and turn on a burner to medium.  This is a be careful moment, so listen up: WATCH THAT SHIT.  Cream boils.  Cream boils very fast, and then it boils out of the pot.  You will have boiling hot cream all over your feet very quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it, and then I’ll feel less sorry for you than I already did.

The second it starts to boil, take it off the heat and pour your chocolate in.  Yes your tea bags are going to get chocolaty, no it’s not a big deal.


Once everything’s melted together, take out your tea bags and pour the ganache over your now-baked brownies (they should’ve been out of the oven for a few minutes by now.  If they’re not, you’re slow, and you need to let them cool down for a bit).

Put the whole pan in the refrigerator for an hour, just long enough for it to set a bit.

024 032

Now for the life-threatening part.  Pour a 1/3 cup of sugar over the top of the brownies (I didn’t put anywhere near 1/3 cup of sugar in those pictures up there, so you’re gonna have a lot more on your hands.  Don’t panic).  Then light up a kitchen blowtorch and go to town.  You want to torch it long enough for the sugar to just start bubbling and turn brown.  If you don’t have a blowtorch, get one.  You could set your oven to broil and put it on the top rack for 30 seconds, but don’t do that.  Get yourself a blowtorch.  They’re awesome.

Of course, with all this heat you’re gonna need something to cool it down.  Try Bohren & der Club of Gore’s Daumen for a refresher: 

And that’s all there is to it.  Flammability and fudgeability, all in one crunchy, chewy brownie.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Tune in next time, people.  Same fresh time, same fresh kitchen.


2 Responses to “Part X: Flamethrower”

  1. ruffienne January 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Your writing is delightfully aggressive and your recipe ideas are delicious. Brava.

    • Scott Greenberg January 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks! Glad you appreciate the writing, more than anything.

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