A wise friend once told me that all good things come from Portugal. He made some good points and to this day I will still argue with him that all things good are actually from China. Of course, that's because he's Portugese and I'm Chinese. However, in this case he is correct and I will give him his due (as much as it pains me.) The origins of coconut, it appears, is derived from the Spanish and Portugese word in the 16th century "coco" meaning grinning face for the three holes resembling a smiling human face. And after taking your first bite of this light, yet rich, double coconut brownie, that is exactly what your face will look like.
The thing I love about cooking is experimenting. I've always found that that is when you make the best discoveries.
Last week, I had a craving for brownies. But I got home and found that I had no milk or vegetable oil. Pretty important ingredients next to the chocolate. I could have gone around the corner to the supermarket to pick them up, but I was in one of those moods where walking 500 feet was too difficult. I was a little down and rethinking my dessert when I stumbled upon a can of coconut milk in my pantry. Score!
Coconut milk is so creamy and luscious that I thought it would be a good replacement for the milk and oil. What I discovered was that the coconut milk gave the brownies a refreshing and moist texture. In fact, why hadn't I had a brownie made with coconut milk before?? The unusual finish to the brownie with the addition of the coconut milk will definitely have your guest trying to capture and identify that elusive flavor. I love the warmth contrasting the coolness with the subtle hint of cinnamon and cardamom.
I finished it with a dark chocolate glaze and some toasted coconut to add another dimension and texture. It gave it a decadence that was tempered with the coconut milk. Delicious! It is the perfect dessert to finish your Valentine's dinner with your loved one. Nothing shows love better than some chocolatey goodness!
DOUBLE COCONUT BROWNIES
Makes 16 brownies
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
14 fl oz (1 can) coconut milk
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut flakes, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
3. In a mixer on medium, cream sugar and butter until it has come together. Add vanilla and one egg at a time until fully incorporated. Add 12 oz of coconut milk and mix for a few minutes.
4. Bring mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry mixture to the wet. Mix until fully incorporated for several minutes.
5. Pour into a buttered/oiled 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes until it is set. If you use a toothpick and stick it in center of brownie, it should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. In a double boiler, add chocolate and remaining 2 oz coconut milk over medium-low heat. You can also put it in a microwave and in 15 second intervals slowly melt the chocolate and mix together it smooth and velvety.
8. With a sharp non-serrated knife, cut into 16 pieces or 12 pieces if you want it bigger. Serve slightly chilled.