Two Bite Skor Brownies
One good turn deserves another. Last Wednesday I got home late and had absolutely no inclination to cook. I gathered up a few condiments and fired up the grill, consigning myself to lackluster burgers and a spinach salad, when we heard a knock at the door. Mike promptly went scurrying downstairs, hissing, “Don’t move or they’ll *know* we’re home”, as is his paranoid wont (seriously, Girl Guides and wandering repair men are not that awful), but I just sighed and glumly went to answer. To my great delight I did not face a grim elementary school student brandishing a box of chocolate covered almonds like a club. Instead, it was our magnanimous neighbors proffering a platter of steaming burgers and sausages with some homemade potato salad on the side. The smell of freshly grilled beef was almost intoxicating.
I have never learned to comfortably deal with freebies and handouts, so my first instinct was to graciously decline. Oh no, we couldn’t possibly, but thank you so kindly for the offer! When pressed, I grudgingly admitted that no, in fact, we had not yet eaten dinner. And okay, maybe our dinner was going to be burgers anyway and I had buns toasted and all the fixins laid out. Yes, that’s correct, I AM tired and I DON’T want to cook. Alright, uh, yeah, that meat looks really, really good.
With the platter in hand, I couldn’t help fidgeting and fussing as we dined on our donation, delicious though it was. There are things that even after 30 years I have not yet learned to master, and two of the many situations that are included are graciously acknowledging a compliment or accepting kindness from peers and strangers. I’m simply not wired that way. I can give you my heart, my house, and my last five dollar bill, but if you try to buy me a drink I’ll be absolutely panic stricken and feel like the sky is falling until I can buy you one in return. And a shot. Maybe a bagful of peanuts.
Half an hour later our doorbell rang again. It was our neighbors. They had come with dessert.
I couldn’t possibly return empty plates to the kindhearted souls that live next door, but we had such a busy week that I had no time for cooking until Sunday afternoon. I wanted to make a crowd-pleaser because I don’t know too much about their culinary tastes. At the very least it had to be something inoffensive that their wee ones would like, and for that reason I settled on brownies. Specifically, candy coated brownies, because life just doesn’t get any better than that.
These brownies ride the line between cakey and fudgy in the most delicious way. Mike was rather stiff and severe when he saw that I was packing them all up to give away, but I did promise him that there were a half dozen set aside specifically for him in the kitchen. By 10:00 pm there were two, plus a handful of crumbs, and Mike was licking chocolate off his chin as he shrugged and said, “They’re brownies, but they eat like cookies. I think I showed restraint.”
Such are the joys of the two bite brownie.
Two Bite Skor Brownies
Makes appx 32 little mouthfulls
- 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 3.5 Skor candy bars *
* Skor chocolate bars, a crisp toffee coated in milk chocolate, were my favorite candy bars growing up (next to Twix, Snickers, and Wonderbar, of course). In Europe, the equivalent of these tasty treats would be Heath chocolate bars. It may seem strange to have a recipe call for three and a half chocolate bars, but I did that for you. There is no way that I can chop up Skor chocolates without eating at least half of one bar myself, so the recipe accommodates for the inherent and uncontrolled cravings which are just a part of life. And hey, 3.5 bars is more than enough, so go ahead and treat yourself.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF, with your racks set in the center position.
Set a medium sized heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water directly. Give a very rough chop to the chocolate and then put it into the warm bowl, stirring intermittently as it starts to melt. When the chocolate is about half melted, add in the butter and continue to stir this gently until it is completely melted, smooth and glossy.
Take the chocolate off the heat and set it aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
In the mean time, crack your eggs and yolk into a fairly large mixing bowl and add the vanilla, sugar and salt. Beat the mixture until it is slightly paler and smooth.
Add the cocoa powder to the eggs and whisk it again until it is smooth and no lumps remain.
When the chocolate has had a few minutes to cool (just enough that it won’t scramble the eggs, but don’t leave it too long or it will start to solidify), slowly pour it into the egg mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is combined.
Sift the flour into the bowl (or don’t sift it, because god knows I only sift when absolutely necessary and frankly, in this case, I don’t consider it to be a make-or-break) and gently stir until it is just combined using your wooden spoon. You don’t want to beat the mixture, or stir too agressively or for too long, because the flour will get all gluten-happy and make your brownies tough. We want nice, soft, fudgey brownies, not dense little chocolate bricks.
Chop the Skor (or Heath) bar until it is in small bits. The largest should be no bigger than a fat chocolate chip.
Generously grease 2 mini muffin trays. Try not to be shy about it, because delicious Skor brownie bites will be a wasted effort if the molten sugar means that they won’t un-mold.
Dollop about 2 tablespoons of the brownie mix into each unit, or until the batter comes about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the tin. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate bars evenly over top. Moisten your hands slightly and gently press the chocolate and toffee into the batter.
Bake the brownies for 12-15 minutes or until they are slightly puffed, set, and just starting to bubble on top. You don’t want to overcook the brownies or they will be less fudgy and more cakey. In my oven this only takes about 13-14 minutes, but you may need more or less depending on how accurate your temperature settings are (mine run cold when the temperature is low, and hot when the temperature is high, making it rather frustrating at times to get a reliable cooking time).
The only difficult thing about soft, fudgy brownies (particularly those that contain molten chocolate bars) is that it is almost impossible to do the “done” test with a toothpick. You can try, but don’t expect fabulous results. Use your common sense and good eye. If you can see tiny little holes, crinkly tops and puffiness that causes the brownies to ever so slightly pull away from the edges of the pan, you’ll be just fine.
Let the brownies cool completely in the tins. To un-mold the luscious little bites, gently run a very thin, sharp knife just along the outer rim and then ease the brownies out with your hands (if they’re high enough) or a small spoon. If your pans were greased well and the brownies are cooked and cooled, they’ll just pop right out like nobody’s business.
The melted Heath/Skor bits erratically dotted throughout the top layer of this moist, dense little chocolate nugget sweeten it up just enough to feel decadent without being over the top.
If the toffee happens to pool in the center, that isn’t exactly a bad thing either. Unlike cupcakes, where I tend to lick off all the icing before discarding the cakey base, these brownie bites are dense, rich, and just fudgy enough that I actually eat the whole thing without complaint. How very virtuous! Next week I might even get an award for finishing all the bacon on my plate, or eating the buttered crusts of my toast.
Hey, a girl can only hope.