Banana Split Brownies

August 8-14, 2011

*This week’s recipe comes to us from the December ’10 issue of Fine Cooking and online. The Banana Split Brownies are decadent and versatile. There haven’t been any complaints yet from the friends we’ve shared them with. The versatility comes from the variations that my wife has been able to generate from this base recipe. Try them with a quality cup of coffee or a crisp and acidic white wine to cut the sweetness.

Recipe by Nicole Rees

With a topping of marshmallows, crunchy almonds, and banana-infused ganache, these brownies are like a classic banana split, minus the ice cream. Adding an overripe banana to the batter keeps the brownies moist for up to 5 days. Yields 16 brownies .

For the brownies
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pan
3 oz. (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coarsely mashed overripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

For the topping
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped ripe banana (about 1 medium)
7 oz. semisweet or mildly bittersweet chocolate (55% to 62% cacao), finely chopped
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Make the brownies

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch-square metal baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides for easy removal of the brownies. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of the foil, tapping out the excess flour.

Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until it smells nutty and turns golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and salt, followed by the eggs, banana, and vanilla. Whisk in the cocoa powder and flour, mixing slowly at first and then more vigorously until the batter is combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan, smoothing it so it fills the pan evenly. Bake until a toothpick or a skewer inserted in the center of the pan comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the brownies cool in the pan before topping.

Make the topping

While the brownies cool, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Stir the chopped banana into the cream; let the mixture steep for 1 hour.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Pour the cream mixture through a strainer held directly over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Discard the banana. Let the chocolate mixture stand for 1 minute; then stir until smooth. Pour the ganache evenly over the cooled brownies.

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Cover the ganache with the marshmallows and almonds. Broil, rotating the pan every 20 seconds or so to keep the marshmallows from burning, until browned. Using a knife, free the marshmallow topping from the sides of the pan. Let the brownies cool in the pan until the ganache is set, at least 1-1/2 hours. Using the foil overhang, remove the brownies from the pan and cut into 16 squares (use a wet knife to keep the marshmallows from sticking).

photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 109, pp. 73
December 30, 2010
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