I’m crazy for coconut. And I’m also crazy for chocolate. So when Melissa Clark (one of my favorite food writers and cookbook authors) shared a recipe for coconut chocolate brownies this week in The New York Times, I had to try it. And they’re good. Really good. The cool thing is this: they’re made with olive oil (no butter) and you sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel on top before baking, so they’re kind of grown-up brownies, with a hint of savoriness. And guess what? You can “Valentize” these by pairing them with a really nice Merlot or Malbec as the perfect finish to a dinner a deux. (Chocolate and red wine are each other’s Valentine!) These brownies are gooey, rich and sweet – but not overly so. And they’re also kind of sexy looking, right?
They’re a little more complicated than your average brownie, but I’m here to step you through it! Ready? Let’s bake!
3/4 C olive oil (plus a tablespoon or so to grease the pan)
1/3 C cocoa powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (like Baker’s brand)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 C white sugar
1 3/4 C all-purpose white flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used a 70% cacao bar)
2 C shredded, sweetened coconut (a 7-ounce bag does it; I had a little bit left over)
fleur de sel, for sprinkling
WHAT YOU DO
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; lightly oil a 9-by-13 baking pan (I used a glass Pyrex one). Boil about a cup of water.
2) In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1/2 C plus 2 Tbls boiling water until smooth, and then whisk in the chopped unsweetened chocolate. Note: I had to do two 10-second zaps in the microwave to get everything to melt together smoothly.
3) Whisk in the olive oil. It’s going to look a little funky, but just keep going. It’ll all come together smoothly as you add more stuff.
4) Add the whole eggs, the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk that all in. Throw in the vanilla, too.
5) Dump in the sugar and whisk until all mixed in.
6) Switch to a spatula and add the flour and sea salt, folding it in.
7) Fold in the chopped bittersweet chocolate.
8) Alrighty. Your batter is finished! Now comes the messy bit, but stay with it! It’s worth it! Pour half the batter into your greased pan (just guess, no need to measure). And now sprinkle 1 C of the shredded coconut on top.
Yup, like that. Now, pour the rest of your batter on TOP of the coconut layer, as evenly as you can.
When you’ve got it all in, use this sophisticated kitchen tool to spread it about in a somewhat even layer:
Yes, your fingers! It worked for me (just be sure your hands are clean, duh). Now sprinkle the final cup of coconut on top, and a pinch of fleur de sel, too. Pop ‘er in the oven for 25-30 minutes. All ovens are different, but I recommend going 30 minutes, because here’s the thing: these are going to be GOO-EY! They will not really solidify until they cool – and even then, they’re going to be, well, gooey. I baked mine for 25 minutes and wish I’d given them just 5 more minutes. You cannot use a toothpick to test for doneness, because of the goo factor. Just don’t expect them to come out like cake-y brownies. When they come out of the oven, put the pan on a cooling rack and wait at least an hour to cut into them, so they’ll set up a bit. They’re definitely to be served on a plate, with a fork — and, as I mentioned, go crazy and have a nice glass of red wine with them – red wine and chocolate are fantastic together! Enjoy.
And if you’re looking for more sweets, check out Sweet as Sugar Cookies – SO many fun and delicious goodies!