Sharon’s Wedding Brownies
Today is the eve of Sharon and Anthony’s wedding. In a few hours we’ll be packing up the car and driving forty-five minutes up I-95 to New Haven, CT to help them celebrate.
In some ways it’s a traditional wedding—a beautiful bride in a candlelight dress, a handsome groom in a tailored blue suit, a chapel decorated with seasonal greens and flowers, a festive reception with great food and wine. But there’ll also be a little of the unexpected too—fathers and mothers walking their children down the aisle, both sets of parents hosting the wedding. There’s also not a cake.
From the beginning Sharon and Anthony did not want a traditional cake. Their first thought was biscotti and coffee for dessert, but as we all started to envision the wedding reception, we decided why offer one little cookie when could go all out!
In addition to Sharon’s Almond Biscotti, many of the cookies and bars I’ve made for the wedding have already appeared on the site: Lime Bars, New and Improved Peppermint Bark, Big Fat Linzer Cookies (I was going to make little ones, but just ran out of time). Two varieties have yet to debut.
A couple of weeks back I fell hard for Abby Dodge’s Coconut Caramel Macadamia Shortbread at the New York Cookie Swap. I wanted that bar at the wedding, so I headed to her website for the recipe only to find out I’d have to wait for her upcoming book for the recipe. I convinced her to give me, but promised I wouldn’t share the recipe until the book’s debut next year.
You can’t have a cookie spread with out brownies, but I wanted one with a holiday feel. Inspired by Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Bars, I made a thinner version of my brownie, topped them with an orange-flavored cream cheese frosting, sprinkled them with cranberries, and a little glaze for good measure.
We’ll post and tell about the wedding next week, but for now enjoy a little taste of Sharon’s Wedding Brownies. Let the wedding celebration begin!
Pam’s Cranberry Bliss Brownies
Makes 2 dozen
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces bitter or semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons (13 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
12 ounces (1 1/2 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Adjust oven rack to lower middle-position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside.
Cut a sheet of heavy-duty foil to fit across the bottom and up and over the long sides of a 15-by 10-inch rimmed cookie sheet to act as a sling to remove brownies from pan. Spray pan with vegetable cooking spray, fit foil in pan, and spray foil.
Melt chocolates and 10 tablespoons of the butter in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs; stir until mixture turns from grainy to completely smooth and glossy. Stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until just firm to touch, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool until tepid.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, and zest in medium bowl until smooth. Spread cream cheese frosting over brownies and sprinkle with cranberries. Mix remaining confectioner’s sugar and the milk to make a glaze; transfer to a quart-size freezer bag, snipping one of the freezer bag corners to create a piping bag (or simply spoon glaze into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip). Pipe glaze over cranberries. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Cut into squares and serve.