Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chocolate-Barley Brownie Baked Alaska

Okay, I know what you're thinking, a friend even said it outloud: chocolate and barley do not belong together in a sentence, much less in a dish. Au contraire. My chocolate-barley brownie at the base of a coffee-blast baked alaska was a hit last night.

If you ask my eight-year-old what his favorite dessert is, he will answer in less than one second with a resounding - Baked Alaska! He even requested it for his birthday cake this year, twice; but timing didn't work out. So, I figured that it would be the perfect midnight dessert for New Year's Eve.

When I received bags of different kinds of flour for Christmas, I saw a recipe for a chocolate-barley brownie on the back of the barley flour. Intrigued, I used that as the base for my baked alaska, spiced with some ground cardamom. Yum.

Make the cake and prepare the ice cream ahead of time so all you have to do is assemble and brown the meringue before serving this dramatic dessert.

3/4 C barley flour
2 eggs
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 C olive oil
1 C organic granulated sugar
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t molasses
1 t vanilla
dash of pink Himalaya sea salt
1/2 t ground cardmom
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg

Mix all the ingredients together  and bake in a buttered pan for 30-35 minutes until the cake is set.

For the icea cream, I usually do this the night before: line a bowl with plastic wrap, press slightly softened ice cream into the bowl, cover it tightly with more plastic wrap, and refreeze. For this cake I used the coffee blast ice cream from Trader Joe's.

Once you're all set to assemble, separate 8 eggs, placing the whites in a large stainless steel bowl. Add 1/8 t cream of tartar, 1/8 t salt, and 2 T organic granulated sugar.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar, salt and sugar until stiff peaks form. Line a baking sheet with parchment or heavy brown paper. Place cake in center. Turn molded ice cream out onto cake. Quickly and prettily spread meringue over cake - make sure to have lots of little peaks because that it what browns - all the way to paper to seal. Return to freezer.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the Alaska on the lowest shelf, 8 to 10 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. Serve immediately!

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