For April Fool's Day of 2017, I present this recipe for pot brownies: brownies made in a cast iron pot. I understand some folks may be thinking of a certain other pot when they read this. I did use the methods used for making a certain "other" pot brownie, but this recipe is being presented as a different way to make mint brownies.
No, really. Mint. Seriously, I used dried mint leaves in the test run of this recipe.
Yes, this is a real recipe and not an April Fool's joke. It happened to be published on April 1, 2017.
Pans needed: Large sized bowl for wet mixing ingredients, smaller medium-sized bowl for dry ingredients; one 10-inch cast iron dutch oven. (You can make this with a cast iron skillet or other baking pan, but then they would be skillet brownies and not pot brownies. Ahem.) Also, parchment baking paper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In another, larger-sized bowl, mix wet ingredients: sugar, brown sugar and eggs. If you're using nuts, add them to the bowl along with the sugar and eggs. The bowl with the wet ingredients should be larger than the bowl with the dry ingredients, because we'll be adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little later.
In a saucepan or 9-inch cast iron skillet, bring butter and cream to a simmer over medium heat. As soon as the liquid begins to bubble, add chocolate; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir slowly and constantly, until chocolate has melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let cool 5 minutes.
Grease a cast iron dutch oven (typical #8 or 10-inch sized). Cut a circle of baking parchment paper and cover the bottom of the dutch oven. This will keep the brownies from sticking and ensure none of the magical ingredient is left behind.
Add the chocolate mix to the large bowl with wet ingredients, whisking until blended. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients, and mix it thoroughly. Pour batter back into the greased and papered cast iron pot. Be sure to add the batter quickly: it is very thick, and it will congeal within a few minutes.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (If you like brownies more gooey, bake for about 35 minutes.) Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the brownie to settle. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the brownies; the parchment paper will keep the bottom from sticking. Flip the pot over onto a plate, and remove the parchment paper. Serve brownies warm or at room temperature.
Clarified butter is butter with the milk fat strained out of it. What's left is the oil, which blends and infuses better with your mint leaves than melted butter. It also has a much longer shelf life, and can be kept in the refrigerator for months rather than weeks.
Turn your stovetop burner to no more than low heat (setting 2 to 3 on a typical burner). This is a low-and-slow process, so the…mint…leaves won't burn.
In a saucepan or large skillet, melt 6 sticks (3 cups) of butter. Pour the butter through a fine strainer or several layers of cheesecloth into a separate warming pan (such as a cast iron pan), and strain the fat out of the butter to produce a clarified butter. (If you prefer, look in the international food section of the supermarket, or go to an ethnic market that serves Indian food (India the country, that is), purchase some ghee, and melt 2 cups (16 ounces) of ghee in your pan. This is clarified butter.)
To the melted butter, add 2 ounces of dried mint. (I did say mint, right?) Stir it into the butter, and keep stirring for 45 minutes to an hour to extract the Totally Honorable Coating of oil from the mint leaves.
Note: Do not use a wooden spoon because it can absorb the liquid and you can lose some of the mint oil. Use a metal spoon to stir the mixture as it cooks.
Strain the cooked butter mixture through two or three layers of cheesecloth into a container with a lid, then squeeze the extra oil out of the cheesecloth. Cover the container, and place it in the refrigerator. Let it cool and harden for at least three hours before using it for cooking.