Thursday, February 6, 2014

Football Brownies

The last time I shared this recipe with you, I took out the chocolate chips and threw in huge chunks of peanut butter cups to make some incredible peanut butter brownies.

For Superbowl Sunday, I nixed the chocolate chips altogether and turned the brownies into footballs!  This was actually really easy.  Mix everything up as noted in the recipe, but instead of putting it in a regular 9 x 13 pan, I baked them on a foil lined cookie sheet.  I didn't actually measure it, but it was the biggest one I had - probably about 15 x 10 x 1 or thereabouts.  Obviously the bake time gets reduced too.  I baked mine for 12 minutes and they came out perfect.  There were a couple of crispy edges that I couldn't use for this particular project, but I have my brownie scraps in a ziplock bag and I have something in store for them this weekend.

After the brownies come out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for a little while.  Once cool to the touch but still a little warm (you don't want to burn yourself!), slowly and carefully lift the foil out of the pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack (or two) and let cool completely.

From there, I slid the racks out from underneath the brownies.  I pulled the foil away from the edges and started cutting away with my cookie cutter.  I cut the brownies really close to each other so I could get as many as possible.  I ended up with 20 brownies, though this amount will really depend on how big your cookie cutter is and what size pan you end up using.  The brownies are really fudgy in the middle, so I found that I had to cut a couple of times to get them to pull away enough for me to be able to separate my little footballs from the scraps.  With a little patience though, this was no big deal at all.

I transferred the football shapes back to the cooling rack and let them hang out for a little while.  They were already cooled off and ready for frosting, but since these are really fudgy, I wanted to let the tops harden a little bit more first to make sure I had a smooth surface for decorating.

I had originally wanted to use marshmallow fluff for the decorating, and if you look closely, you'll notice that some of the decorations are brighter and whiter than the others - those are the ones that had fluff.  Unfortunately, this was only a great idea in theory and not in practice, as the fluff was way harder to work with than I was anticipating.  I also wasn't working with a "fresh" jar, so the fact that it had already been opened may have impacted the squeezability of it when I was trying to pipe it on.

Instead, I decided to just make a simple confectioner's sugar glaze.  I knew I didn't need much, and even though it thickens up the longer it sits, I knew I wanted it to be a little bit thicker to start with.  I looked online to get some ratios (I am pretty terrible at math and can figure it out the relationships once I see the amounts/ingredients, but have a difficult time doing it by myself), then decided I was all in.

We had friends over while I was putting the finishing touches on these, and as soon as I was done and everything was cleaned up, I pretty much ordered the boys into the kitchen so they could take a look at my handwork.  It was only seconds before they started asking when they could eat them.  At the end of the night, there were only a few left.


Football Brownies

3/4 c. Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. butter, melted and divided
1/2 c. boiling water
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 15" x 10" x 1" cookie sheet with aluminum foil, leaving overhang.  Grease the corners and sides.

In a large bowl, combine cocoa, baking soda and 1/3 cup butter.  Add boiling water and stir until mixture thickens.  Mix in sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup butter; stir until smooth.  Add flour and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.  Evenly pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 10-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer foil to a wire rack to cool completely.  Using a football shaped cookie cutter, cut out football shapes.  Decorate with icing.

Simple Sugar Glaze

4 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. milk

In a small bowl, combine sugar and vanilla. Mix in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired thickness is reached.  Carefully transfer to a piping bag or a zip-top bag with a small hole cut in the corner and decorate brownies as desired.