It’s April, so Coconut Month may technically be over, but that doesn’t mean I have to quit the white stuff cold turkey, does it?
This past week I made a recipe I’ve been dreaming up in my head for awhile now: the Mounds Brownie. (Similar recipes may exist, but I couldn’t find one that sounded good to me, so this is my own beautiful Frankenbrownie.) The Mounds brownie consists of two layers of moist, fudgy, supremely chocolatey brownies sandwiching a gooey coconut filling. If you’re more of an Almond Joy person, you could easily top it with a layer of chocolate frosting and a generous sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds.
This is my very favorite kind of brownie: it’s so fudgy it seems almost underdone in the center, but it has a beautiful crackly top from the cocoa. On its own it may be almost too rich and chocolately, but in this context, with the coconut filling, I think its intense flavor and texture add to the candy bar-like appeal.
The coconut layer in the center is simply shredded coconut mixed with condensed milk and a generous pinch of salt (to keep it from being too sweet…riiiiiight…). It stays moist and a bit gooey, especially when it mixes with the fudgy brownie. Because the decadent texture is so important to these brownies, please, please don’t overbake them. Only YOU can prevent dry pastries.
And just in case these don’t seem deadly enough on their own, I have it on good authority (ie, my stomach’s) that they are insanely good when topped with a spoonful of warm, oozing dulce de leche. I think I know a few bakers who might have some leftover dulce de leche that should be put to good use…
For the brownies:
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into quarters
3 tablespoons good-quality cocoa powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
For the coconut filling:
2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
Hefty pinch of salt
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut and the condensed milk until the coconut is evenly moistened, and set aside for now.
2. Melt the chocolates with the butter in the microwave, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. (You could also use a double boiler if you’re old-school.) Once melted, whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined.
4. Pour approximately half of the brownie mixture into prepared pan, spread it into the corners and spread it into an even layer. Spread the coconut layer on top–I’ve found that this is easiest to do by spooning portions of it over the entire pan, and then smoothing the spoonfuls together. Don’t apply too much pressure, or it will sink into the brownie layer. Once the coconut is fairly evenly spread, pour the rest of the brownie batter over it, and spread it into an even layer on top.
5. Bake the brownies until they are slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, about 35 minutes. If in doubt, err on the side of underbaking them.
These are bonkers when served warm, with caramel sauce or vanilla ice cream.