Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reform School Brownies

I'm sure you've heard of Slutty Brownies (or google it, there's a zillion hits) and the male counterpart, Man Whore Bars (which I made and will post about one of these days, I promise). They are very, very good and I don't begrudge them even a thimble full of the accolades they've received.

But, for me and my tastes, I think they tip toe over the line into overkill. So I decided to make my own version and am calling them Reform School Brownies. See, they still have terrible boundaries and make questionable choices but they're moving towards better behavior.

My husband said I am seriously unclear on the concept of reform school girls but I think he just has his mind in the gutter.


So these reformed brownies are officially our house favorite and that's saying something as I bake so much no one would be surprised if a butter delivery truck showed up at our door on a daily basis. They are decadent and rich and indulgent but you don't need to flagellate yourself after having one.

The reform part is that they are made with zucchini and whole wheat flour (if you have it) but I promise that I won't tell if you don't. (That's what he said) And I've skipped the whole chocolate chip cookie, Reese Peanut Butter Cup portion of the dish.

To make things even more wonderful (and they were pretty wonderful already), this is a very simple one bowl recipe with no fancy ingredients - unless you consider Oreos exotic... and then I just don't know what to say.

And can I state the obvious for a second - some of you may be thinking, "but I don't have any zucchini (courgettes in the UK)." Zucchini isn't just for people with overflowing gardens or convenient farmers markets nearby. You can buy it in the produce section with other vegetables and it's super-cheap. Know it. Buy it. Love it.

Okay, let's get started!

Reform School Brownies


Cooking Spray
2 C zucchini
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 pinch baking powder
1/3 C cocoa powder
¼ C oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
½ C chocolate chips
About 1 cup of your choice of frosting. I make mine from scratch, recipe to follow

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray

Place down a layer of oreos, cutting some if needed.

Combine all ingredients

Note: I didn't feel like grinding wheat for whole wheat flour so I made it with all purpose. Works great, just a little less nutritious.

Realize that these brownies are Reform School Brownies, as in still working on it, so add in some chocolate chips. 

Much better!

Now this is the part that is a little disconcerting and sends me back to my recipe every single time as I'm ABSOLUTELY SURE that I missed the liquid ingredients. Yes, I get all shrill and yelly at this point. Because when you stir it together you get this:

Yeah, Nicole. Nice bowl of dry flour clinging to zucchini. Yum!

Just have a little faith and keep stirring. In moments it turns to this:

Still not decadent or appealing but it's definitely headed towards play doh consistency. Progress, right.

Promise me you'll do this step. Go grab a glass of water and drink it. Or make a cup of coffee. Just a quick minute. Do it. I'll be here when you get back.

Now stir again and VOILA! Brownie batter. The sodium in the salt and baking soda just needed a sec to work on the zucchini so it would release it's moisture.

Much better.

The best way to spread brownie batter over Oreos without disturbing them is to drop it in spoonfuls all over the top and then all you need to do is join them. Like this:

This is the sort of thing I had to figure out on my own when I first started baking and everything came out a big mess. So if it helps, Hooray! and, You're welcome.

Bake 35 minutes or until brownies are set.

Let them cool completely - you can do this in the fridge to speed up the cooling time.

Top with your favorite frosting.

I was torn between a vanilla frosting to echo the "stuff" in the Double Stuff Oreos I used, or a chocolate. Chocolate won. When making chocolate frosting always add a teeny bit of coffee, it boosts the chocolate flavor a ton, kind of like how salt improves sweetness in baked goods. (Thanks Ina Garten for this tip). Add even more coffee if you want mocha frosting. Which I almost always do.

You can use canned frosting or your favorite recipe. My recipe is very loose and 'to taste' but basically you take one stick of softened butter. Beat in one cup of icing sugar/confectioners sugar/powdered sugar (whatever you call it where you live). Add some milk/cream/ creamer (maybe 1-2 TBL), 1 tsp of vanilla (or capful),  1/3 Cup cocoa powder (for chocolate frosting) and one more cup of confectioners sugar. Beat until smooth. Add more sugar or milk to get desired consistency. At the liquids step you can melt one TBL of instant coffee in 1 TBL of hot water and add a bit to taste. Even if you don't do coffee, try it.  A few drops will improve the flavor dramatically.

Now stand back and accept the praise. Because there will be loads of thunderous applause when those you care about enough to share these with sink their teeth into the chocolatey goodness.

EDIT 9/30:
These are absolutely adorable when you make them with the Halloween Oreos that have orange filling.

Linked up with Tatertots and Jello


Anonymous said...

I totally want to make these today but guess what? In my neck of the woods Oreos are indeed exotic! LOL I'll have to try to find some this weekend. :)

My name is Erika. said...

OK, know what I am making this weekend. Thanks for filling me in over here on the other side of the pond.

Unknown said...

I am making these now. The batter taste so delicious!!! Will post again when done:)

Unknown said...

These are very decadent brownies with the cookie on bottom and the frosting on top. One goes a long way, they are so good. The brownie itself without the cookie, just maybe the frosting would also be good. Thanks for the recipe!