Need a dessert that works for most any occasion? If you like chocolate, then I have one that will fit the bill. I promise it is melt in your mouth delicious.
I'm a huge fan of dulce de leche, whether it's spread between cookies, added to an apple pie, or swirled into this scrumptious dark chocolate batter. The nice thing about this recipe is that it will bake little two-bite mini muffins, indulgent brownies, or a rich cake that has the decadent flavor of one of those flour-less chocolate cakes.
While the recipe takes very little active time, and really couldn't be easier, it does require some preplanning.
Here's the deal: you can either buy prepared Dulce de leche, or make your own from a can of sweetened condensed milk. Making it takes a little over an hour in the oven, then a couple of cooling hours before you can use it. You can certainly make it ahead and store it in the frig until you're ready to put the dessert together.
Another little time element has to do with the chocolate ganache icing. I like to let my icing set up after I decorate by letting it rest in the frig for a couple of hours before serving.
This is a good 'make the day before' recipe. Take it out a few minutes before serving and let it get its 'room temperature' legs. If you choose the cake format, serve with a little whipped cream or ice cream.
(I found the basic recipe for Dulce de Leche Brownies on www.davidlebovitz.com which is packed with GREAT food information. Then I started fooling with it a little...)
Indulgent Dulce de Leche Chocolate Dessert
One stick butter
three-fourths cup dark chocolate pieces
one-fourth cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup regular flour
Dulce de Leche made from one 14oz. Can sweetened condensed milk* or about one cup, already prepared
Chocolate Ganache Icing**
*Dulce de Leche (Caramelized Sweetened Milk)
1 (14oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Preheat oven to 450°.
Pour can of sweetened condensed milk into clear glass baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Place dish in larger pan or casserole dish, to make a 'bain marie' (water bath), and fill larger dish with hot water to come up about half way on the outside of the baking dish holding milk.
Place in oven for about one hour, or until milk caramelizes. You may have to add more water to outer pan.
When milk thickens and turns a nice caramel color, remove from oven and cool. Beat with fork or whisk until smooth. This is just beginning to caramelize and needs a little more oven time.Get all your cake ingredients together.
For cake or brownies:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line an 8 x 8 baking pan (for brownies), or 8 inch round baking pan (for cake) with heavy foil or parchment paper. Spray with butter flavored Pam. If making bite sized mini-muffins, line pan with muffin wrappers.
Melt butter over double boiler. Add chocolate pieces, and stir until melted and combined.
Remove from heat and stir in cocoa until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating with whisk.
Beat in sugar and vanilla, and finally flour, briskly whisking until well combined.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan.
Spoon half of Dulce de Leche onto batter in teaspoons, and gently swirl.
Pour in remaining batter, and follow by spooning and swirling remaining Dulce de Leche.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just beginning to firm when touched in center. Do not overcook.
Remove from oven and cool.
**Chocolate Ganache Icing:
3 T butter
three-fourths cup dark chocolate pieces
2 T heavy whipping cream
Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in chocolate pieces and stir until melted. Whisk in heavy whipping cream until smooth.
When cake is cool top evenly with chocolate ganache.
Refrigerate until icing is firm.
Remove brownies or cake from pan by gently pulling on foil or parchment. Remove paper and discard.
Place brownies on a cutting board, and cut into 9 squares, then cut each square into two triangles.
Or place cake on serving platter, and cut into small slices (it's very rich!)
Happy Birthday, Ed!