Never go shopping with an 8-year-old.
Despite being warned that we planned only to buy items for her class’ Valentine’s Day party, my niece immediately began identifying one thing after another she hoped my sister would add to our Hobby Lobby basket.
But I’m to blame for the brownie bowls.
As we wandered the store, a few aisles caught my eye. No surprise that baking and candy making stood out. I passed it at first but quickly returned as my sister searched for the perfect wooden pieces with which to construct a stand for a large, heart-covered, fabric envelope.
Like my niece, my wish list quickly grew as I scanned the shelves. The things I could make and decorate flashed through my mind. Cake pops. Buttercream flowers. Gold dusted chocolates.
And then I saw the brownie bowls.
I showed them to my niece as a joke, but she loved them. And with her birthday fast approaching — and despite already requesting cupcakes — the thought of brownies, ice cream and sprinkles sounded like the perfect way to celebrate with her friends. And so she told her mother, who caved and purchased the lot.
But I didn’t get away so easy. Since I suggested the forms to my niece, my sister put me in charge of making the brownie bowls for the party. Although I suppose it was a form of punishment, the task also became an opportunity to create a deliciously decadent dessert for this blog. (My sister is ridiculously supportive that way … so not really a punishment at all.)
I turned to my good friend (no, he doesn’t actually know me) Alton Brown for some help. Awhile back I wrote about his recipe for creme brûlée, which remains one of my favorite desserts. And if he didn’t steer me wrong then, I knew he wouldn’t now.
Brown’s Cocoa Brownies taste sinfully good, almost veering into dark chocolate territory (my favorite!). They are rich and, if cooked correctly, fudgy.
If you’re into the more adventurous shape of the brownie bowl, you can purchase a set from Amazon or use two muffin/cupcake pans. I’d recommend the latter since the molds I used were quite large and even a bit too much for me. If you go that route, just remember to spray both pans (the cavity of the one you fill and the underside of the other) and fill only about halfway as the batter will rise. Once filled, nest the two pans together.
After the brownies are mostly cooled, fill them with your favorite ice cream and toppings (whipped cream, anyone?). You can even dip the edges in fudge or caramel (recipe alert!) and then cover them with sprinkles or candy.
Now get out there and have a little fun with your food!