I woke up bright and early on Sunday, to another overcast day. It was a day that called for warm, sticky desserts. But the desire to embrace the tastes of summertime nagged at me as I wandered into the kitchen. In contemplating what to make, I decided to split the difference.
This tray full of goodness is a wonderful marriage between the two. Winter's ooey-gooey brownies, meets spring's Passover macaroons, meets the bright, zingy ginger of summer. A triple-layer, triple-season treat for these in-between days.
By the time the layers were cooled and the caramel was drizzled on, the sun was peaking out from behind the clouds, as if to call my bluff: summer is coming, after all.
Macaroon Brownies with Ginger Caramel
adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
3" piece of fresh ginger
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup white sugar
5 tbsp salted butter
2 large egg whites + 2 large whole eggs
2 cups white sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, divided
2 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 pinches of kosher salt
10 tbsp butter
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°F, and line a 8x8" pan with parchment.
First, begin to make the caramel. Pour cream into a small saucepan, and heat to a bare simmer. Meanwhile, roughly chop the ginger. When the cream begins to simmer, take the pan off the heat, and add the chopped ginger. Set aside while you begin the macaroon brownies.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla for about two minutes, until well-blended and fluffy. Mix in coconut and 1 pinch of kosher salt until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom of the lined pan.
In a heat-proof bowl, add butter, cocoa powder, pinch of salt, and remaining sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water, and mix until the butter is melted and the mixture is well blended. Take off the heat, and set aside for a moment to cool.
Mix in vanilla extract, then the eggs--one at a time--until the batter is smooth. Mix in the flour with quick, heavy strokes, until the batter is very well blended. Pour batter over the macaroon mixture, and spread to cover. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the pan's centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Set on a rack and let cool.
Meanwhile, finish the caramel. Heat the sugar in a tall saucepan (the mixture will bubble dramatically, so choose wisely) over medium heat, without stirring. Watch the sugar very closely, as it can go from delicious caramel to burnt disaster in the blink of an eye. Occasionally, swirl the pan to ensure that the sugar is heating and melting evenly. When the caramel is a warm, deep copper colour, remove from heat and whisk in the butter. (Mixture will bubble up. See? I told ya.) Set a fine sieve over the pot, and pour the cream mixture through to strain out the ginger. Whisk cream into the caramel thoroughly, and pour caramel into a heat-proof jar. Leave to cool slightly.
When the macaroon brownies are cool enough to handle, remove from pan, and pour caramel over the top. Cut into squares, and eat with your hands. Lick the caramel off your fingers, and dream the summer.