08 June, 2012

Bites : Sea Salt Brownie Trifle

If Necessity is the Mother of Invention, then I'm pretty sure that "Chopped" is its Father.  I've written before about my inordinate love for this show which challenges top-notch chefs to create three gourmet courses from baskets of mystery ingredients.  Sure, it's a bit contrived and overly-dramatic, but I learn so much from the creativity, authority, and improvisation displayed in every episode.

Every now and then my obsession pays off by providing real-life application, like it did in a small baking fiasco yesterday.  My lovely friend Prasana was coming over for dinner, and I wanted to make some indulgent World Peace Cookies in celebration.  I re-routed, however, when I came across The Kitchn's recipe for Extra-Darl Brownies with Sea Salt and Lime.  Dark chocolate, summery lime, and a hint of sea salt sounded like the perfect end to the menu I had planned!

The result was...not nice.  Not nice at all.  I was, shall we say, generous with the sea salt.  But I am a Heidel and that means that I am thrifty (selectively...)!  I refused to throw away an entire batch of brownies, but how could I salvage them and make something edible?  The "Chopped" theme music and Alex Guarnaschelli's maleficent glare popped into my head, and my competition with myself began.  (I clearly need to get out more.)  What did I have on hand?  Vanilla yogurt.  Berries.  The broken up bits at the bottom of a bag of pretzel chips.

...Sounds like a great trifle to me!

I layered the different ingredients in a small bowl, thinking about what order they should go in.  I wanted pleasant crunch from the pretzels to contrast the soft brownies and berries, but didn't want the pretzels to touch the yogurt and become soggy.  Yogurt, brownies, pretzels, berries, yogurt, brownies, pretzels, berries.  The result was not exactly a $10,000 dessert, but a sweet "save" I was well pleased with.  The creamy yogurt perfectly countered the salty brownies, and the tangy-sweet blackberries went so well with the dark chocolate.  And the pretzels were indeed the perfect touch of crunch and texture.  The leftovers are calling to me from the fridge, but I'm trying to be strong...