Saturday, 15 February 2014

Black forest cookie bars

I guess we all accept that a person's taste preferences change over time. There are a lot of foods that you don't like as a child, but grow accustomed to. Say red wine, or olives. But how about sweet preference? I always thought there was no limit to my sweet tooth. However, over the last few years, my sweet cravings have changed. These days, I can keep chocolate around the house without immediately inhaling it in one go. I actually have quite an amazing amount of sweets in the house right now. Several very large bars of chocolate, cookies, cake, ice cream just to name a few. And I keep finding forgotten sweets in my cupboards which would never ever have happened before. Currently instead of craving chocolate, I crave fruit candy. And buns. And bread, I can't keep away from bread. And surprisingly, I have had several rather bad crisp craving moments. I never used to crave salty food. Oh, particularly tortilla chips. Mmmmm.... So I have no idea what is going on, and I am still far from getting back on track with my healthy eating, but at least I'm happy that these days my sweet tooth can be sated with a few squares of chocolate instead of a whole bar. Just keep those fruit jellies away from me. I probably shouldn't keep an open pack of fruit jellies in my car, by the way. It's a bit too easy to snack on candy while stuck in traffic and slightly annoyed and bored. So I better finish the pack I have in my car real quickly so I get rid of that temptation, right?

Onto more food related issues. There are no words to describe how much I admire all the food bloggers out there who have the skill and talent to take the most amazing photos of their food. I know a lot of it is down to things like natural light, and it's probably a bad excuse that I'm never home when there is actual daylight. What is a working woman to do? But talking about amazing food photography, I knew I had to make these black forest cookie bars as soon as I saw the photo of them pop up on Pinterest. And I don't even like cherries! (Well, to be more exact, I love fresh cherries, but have never been very fond of the glacĂ© ones). Anyhow, on to one of the most indulgent desserts ever! 

Black forest cookie bars:
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (original recipe says semi sweet, I used milk choc)
2 cups mini marshmallows (I used  1 1/2)
1 jar glacĂ© cherries (the original recipe just states 1 jar without defining how big a jar is, the one I got was 200 g and I think that was about the right amount)
397 g (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

The howto:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Butter a 23x33 cm (9x13") pan (I lined it with parchment paper instead, as that makes cleaning up much easier). In a big bowl, melt the butter. Mix with cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, salt and flour until mixture is smooth. Spread into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips, marshmallows and chopped cherries on top. Pour the condensed milk evenly on top. Bake for 22 minutes according to the original recipe, I baked mine for 27 minutes as the marshmallows hadn't even started to brown by 27 minutes. I'm not sure how gooey the brownie base is supposed to be, but I would be inclined to bake for another extra 5 minutes, but I think it's a matter of taste. Don't under any circumstance even try to cut while warm. Let cool completely (yes, it's hard but trust me on this one) before cutting.

The verdict:
I wasn't quite sure if I was going to blog about these brownies or not. The first time I had them, they were almost too rich (I feel bad even saying something like that, but hey, what can you do). But then I had them the next day straight out of the fridge, and I actually liked them much better. For me, for some reason they just work better when completely chilled. I also had them together with a bowl of fruit, and that was a really great combo to break the sweetness a bit. Then the Culinary Consultant poured some custard over his brownie and popped it into the microwave until slightly softened, and that worked really well.

The best thing about the brownies is that I have hardly ever come across desserts that don't make me crave more and more and more. Well, these babies will definitely leave all your sugar and chocolate cravings completely satisfied for the foreseeable future. I cut the brownies into really small squares and popped them into the freezer (When I saw the original recipe state that it serves 32, I thought that was a joke. But seriously, cut them small, trust me!). That way I can get a mini treat out whenever I feel like I need one, and it should be enough to satisfy any sweet craving I might have, but at the same time won't mean I will eat a whole cake. Not that I'm saying I would eat a whole cake... who am I kidding here... I probably could eat a whole cake if I had the chance. But the sum total is that these brownies are pretty much the ultimate sweet treat. Consume with caution, but definitely try them out if you enjoy sweet desserts.

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