Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kitty Kat Krunch Brownies

Kitty Kat Krunch Brownies - made May 10, 2015 from Extreme Brownies by Connie Weis
I’m now splitting my cookbook recipe obsession between my newest book Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook and the recently new Extreme Brownies. For this post, we’re back to brownies. When I first bought Extreme Brownies, this was one of the (many) recipes I immediately wanted to try. It had all the elements I found interesting: candy incorporated into the brownie itself then crunchy stuff on top to provide further contrast to the chewy fudginess of the brownie and the creamy smoothness of the frosting.
First, let me tell you I have not bought Cocoa Krispies in….forever. When I was a kid, I used to beg my mom to buy those sugary cereals. They were totally bad for you (still are) but hey, I was a kid. It was my job to beg for the bad stuff. My mom only occasionally gave in to my begging so I do have memories of enjoying a bowl of Cocoa Krispies, the best part being the milk left in the bowl “turned into chocolate milk” by dint of the cocoa combining with the milk. I disliked milk even as a kid but chocolate milk was tolerable. Plus I liked the crunch of the cereal, so much more satisfying than cornflakes because, you know, it was sweeter and it was chocolate.
Second, once I did buy the Cocoa Krispies for this recipe and tasted it again, I decided my taste buds have matured a lot since then. Because I no longer had the palate that thought Cocoa Krispies were the bomb. Sorry, Cocoa Krispies lovers, but I’ve tasted real chocolate and this isn’t it. But, I was committed to trying out this recipe and I’d already bought the box so….
I usually don’t have the time or inclination to make brownies that are this involved. Meaning not just the brownie but you also make the ganache glaze and a topping. And I’m leery of anything that involves me making caramel from scratch because I’m paranoid about burning it and the few times I’ve made my own caramel, it’s been too sweet for my taste. But surprisingly, this was fairly easy to make. Don’t be put off by having to make the different elements of this recipe as each one by itself isn’t that hard. You just need a little time and even that isn’t a big deal.
Make the Cocoa Krispies crunch topping first so it has time to cool. I almost burned the caramel because my saucepan is dark colored and you know how hard it is to judge how brown a caramel is getting when you’re looking at a clear liquid bubbling in a dark pan? Yeah, it’s hard. And the caramel keeps on browning even after you turn the heat off. Fortunately, I caught it just 30 seconds before it would’ve been burnt. Whew. The topping turned out as crunchy as it was supposed to be, always a nice surprise.
The brownie and ganache topping couldn’t have been easier. I bought a bag of mini Kit Kats and dispersed them all in the brownie since I didn’t want spare Kit Kats leaping into my mouth later on if they remained in my pantry. Better to use them all in the brownies and give the brownies away. After my taste test piece, that is.
This was another fudgy brownie winner. I’m not big on ganache frosting but it did add a nice richness to the brownie and the crunchy topping was a great contrast. I’m not entirely sure the Kit Kats added a whole lot to the brownie other than their name but that’s probably because for my taste test, I ate half a piece near the edge with little Kit Kat in it so I might not have gotten the full Kitty Kat Krunch experience. But this is definitely worth filing away for Halloween time if you end up with spare Kit Kats.
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (6 ounces) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 packed cup (8 ounces) light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 (8-ounce) bag mini Kit Kats

Candied Chocolate Rice Cereal Topping
1 1/2 cups chocolate puffed rice cereal, such as Cocoa Krispies
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon (5 ounces) heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups (7.5 ounces) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter and chocolates in the top half of a double boiler over hot water. Whisk together until melted and smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugars and salt until just combined. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Stir together the flour and baking powder then mix into the batter, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Push the mini Kit Kats into the batter; do not place any within 1/2" of the pan sides. Use the offset spatula to cover the candy with the batter. 
  5. Bake for 28 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
  6. To make the candied chocolate rice cereal topping: lightly grease a quarter sheet pan with vegetable shortening then line with parchment paper. Measure out the cereal; set aside.
  7. Place the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a small, heavy saucepan; stir with a small silicone spatula just to combine. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to moderate and boil undisturbed until a medium amber-colored caramel forms, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cereal. Spoon the caramelized cereal onto the prepared pan and spread it out with a small offset spatula. Let cool at room temperature.
  9. To make the frosting: place the heavy cream and chocolate chips in the top half of a double boiler set over hot water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from over the hot water and refrigerate until the mixture has cooled to the consistency of pudding, about 15 minutes. While the frosting mixture is chilling, cut up the candied chocolate rice cereal topping into 1/4" pieces, using a sharp chef's knife.
  10. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces. Beat the butter pieces into the chilled cream mixture. Beat in the salt. Strain or sift the cocoa powder directly onto the mixture and beat in. Add the vanilla and beat in, starting on low and increasing to high speed, until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. 
  11. Dollop the frosting over the brownie slab. Using a small offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly. Garnish the frosting with some of the chopped candied chocolate rice cereal topping, then use the back of a metal spatula to lightly tap on the topping pieces to slightly embed them into the frosting. Refrigerate pan for 7 to 8 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and serve.

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