my baking challenge. April 28, 2012 is when I finally finished it with this creation. It took 16 months, 1 week and 1 day to make at least one recipe from every cookbook I own. And I have to confess, I cheated towards the end because as I went through the last of the cookbooks I still had, if I couldn't find a recipe in it that I wanted to make, I donated the book to the library. It was only 5 or 6 books but oh well. Shouldn't have bought them in the first place if there's nothing in them I want to make now. And at some point, I just wanted to finish what I had started. Which I finally did with this recipe from the last book. It's a bit ironic though that the title of the book is "A Passion for Ice Cream" but the only thing I didn't make from it was an ice cream recipe. Oops.
But I did make the brownie and the hot fudge sauce recipes from the book. It's finally getting warm enough for an ice cream dessert but I was too pressed for time to make ice cream from scratch so I fell back on Dreyers Slow-Churned Vanilla Ice Cream (as an aside, I actually prefer the low-cal ice cream to the super premium ice cream; go figure). For the brownie, I used my dessert shell pan again but this wasn't an ideal brownie to make in that pan because the brownie was so fudgy and dense that it didn't come out of the shell pan that easily. For simplicity, I would recommend making the recipe as outlined below in the 9 x 13 pan and simply cutting it into squares to serve as the base for the banana split. I did manage to salvage a few of the dessert shell brownies and in the cavity, filled it with bruleed banana pieces before topping with ice cream.
To put this dessert together, do the following:
1. Make the brownies as directed and let cool completely. Cut into whatever size squares you want the base of the dessert to be.
2. Make the homemade hot fudge sauce as directed below and keep warm until you're ready to use. I don't recommend starting the hot fudge sauce until your brownies are baked and have cooled to at least lukewarm.
3. Once your hot fudge sauce is completed, cut a banana in half then cut into length-wise pieces. Sprinkle each piece lightly with granulated sugar, just enough to thinly coat the banana pieces then brulee using a handheld torch or by broiling in the oven until the sugar caramelizes into a golden brown. Let it cool just long enough to let the melted sugar harden into a crisp-crackly top. You don't want too much sugar on the banana, not as much as for a creme brulee but just enough to get a light crunch after the bananas have been bruleed and the melted sugar has cooled into a thin crust.
4. You can arrange the bruleed bananas any way you like around the brownie, on top of it, under it, etc. Place a scoop of ice cream over the brownie and top with warm hot fudge sauce. The hot fudge will solidify into sticky, chewy fudge after it hits the ice cream. Serve immediately.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
5 ounces unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13” baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Melt the chocolates and butter in the top half of a double boiler over hot water (not boiling). Set aside and let cool to tepid.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture.
4. Sift the dry ingredients together and stir into the chocolate-sugar mixture. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, not raw batter, about 20-25 minutes.
Hot Fudge Sauce
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces unsalted butter
½ cup half-and-half (you can also use 1/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream)
1 ½ cups sugar
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top half of a double boiler over hot water (not boiling). Whisk until smooth. Pour in the half-and-half in a steady stream, whisking as you pour.
2. Slowly add ½ cup of the sugar in a steady stream, whisking as you pour. Continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved and isn’t grainy, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the next ½ cup sugar and then the last ½ cup of sugar.
3. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes glossy and thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Serve warm. Note: when the hot fudge cools, it becomes grainy. Warming it up again will make it liquid smooth once more.