When my cousin from North Carolina called to ask for help planning the menu for a birthday lunch for her mom, I proposed a scrumptious new brownie recipe I had recently developed. My aunt, a spry octogenarian, loves sweets, especially those made with chocolate or with coconut, and my new brownies contained both.
CHOCOLATE-COCONUT BROWNIES WITH COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing baking pan
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour plus extra for dusting baking pan
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM:
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/4 cup cream of coconut (see note)
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted (see note)
Adjust an oven rack at lower third of oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch-square baking pan, shaking out excess flour.
Place butter and chocolate in a heavy, medium saucepan set over lowest heat. Stir occa-sionally until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes, then stir in sugar and vanilla extract.
Add eggs, stirring well to mix. Stir in flour and salt. Finally, stir in 1/2 cup coconut flakes.
Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. The top of brownies will be shiny and cracked and the inside moist and somewhat soft. Do not over-bake.
Cool brownies to room temperature. Then, with a small knife, loosen edges of brownies from baking pan.
Cut brownies into 4 equal squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles for a total of 8 triangles. (The brownies can be prepared 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at cool room temperature.)
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Then, gradually pour in the cream of coconut and beat until firm. (Cream can be whipped 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
To serve, arrange a brownie on each of 8 dessert plates and top each with a generous dollop of coconut whipped cream. Sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes over the cream. Pass any extra cream separately in a small bowl.
Note: Cream of coconut is available at most groceries. Do not use coconut milk. Stir the cream of coconut well before using because it sometimes separates.
Note: To toast coconut flakes, arrange an oven rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes until flakes just start to brown.
Per serving: 436 calories, 5 grams protein, 32 grams fat, 21 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 124 milligrams cholesterol, 57 milligrams sodium. Recipe analysis provided by Jodie Shield.
Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services.