One of the best things about blogging is the people you meet who become lifelong friends; and when those friends are talented bakers, they write beautiful cookbooks and send a copy to you. Such is the case with Marbled, Swirled, and Layered written by our very good friend Irvin Lin of the wildly popular blog, Eat the Love.
Irvin is a passionate baker with a love of all things pastry and who also happens to have a gift for pairing traditional flavors with unusual combinations; they create multilayered desserts you might not have considered: Seville Orange Bars with Salted Shortbread and Gin Meringue (Gin Meringue!) or regional recipes such as Butterscotch Whoopie Pies with Apple-Cream Cheese Filling. His cover recipe, Marshmallow-Filled Chocolate Cake is a spin on one of my childhood favorites – the Hostess Cupcake – complete with swirled icing on top.
I’ve been a gluten-free baker for the past 6-years and even though this isn’t a gluten-free book, the recipes can be converted with success so there’s no need to feel left out at any type of celebration. There are also recipe hacks which give a traditional recipe that special ‘sumpin’-sumpin’, such as adding bourbon or spiced rum to a pie crust (Apple-Blackberry Tarte Tatin anyone?).
I have several pages flagged for recipes to bake in 2017 but one of my seasonal favorites is Irvin’s take on the humble brownie; I’m pretty sure we can all agree on our love of brownies but topped with Salted Caramel popcorn? Sublime. But wait . . . he also gives a few alternatives including one for Candied Peppermint Popcorn Mocha Brownies; so good in fact, that the recipe landed in Oprah’s December issue . . . yes, the Oprah.
I made mine gluten-free and switched it up yet again: white chocolate ganache popcorn, laced with crushed peppermint candy. We shared leftovers (who has leftover brownies??!!!) with The Professor’s students and they were a huge hit!
If you’re a baker, even a gluten-free baker, you need Marbled, Swirled, and Layered on your shelves – it’s a beautiful book – and one you’ll bake from again and again.
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated to share this with our readers; and while I received a free copy of the book, everything I write here are my own words, my own opinion, and my own experiences.
GLUTEN-FREE WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT MOCHA BROWNIES
Makes one, 9×13 pan
- 105 grams gluten-free flour (¾ cup, your favorite)
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your mix already includes)
- 35 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6-ounces unsweetened chocolate (do not use semi-sweet chocolate)
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 210 grams sugar (approx 1-1/2 cups)
- 105 grams brown sugar (approx ¾ cup)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 2 Tablespoons instant coffee
- 6-ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- ½ cup crushed candy canes, plus additional to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Coat a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray and line with parchment; set aside
- In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, xanthan (if using), cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave 6-ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate and 12 Tablespoons butter for 30-second intervals, stirring between until chocolate is melted
- Add both sugars and whisk for 30-seconds
- Add 4 large eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition
- Add vanilla and instant coffee whisking until well combined
- Fold in dry ingredients just until blended; add bittersweet chocolate chips and mix well
- Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until center comes out with crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes (gluten-free can take a bit longer depending on your oven; brownies are gooey in the middle but you want it baked, not dough). Cool
FOR THE POPCORN TOPPING:
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment and spritz with a bit of cooking spray; spread popped popcorn in a single layer. Set aside
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl add white chocolate chips and microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted
- Add crushed candy cane and stir until just blended
- Pour white-chocolate-candy-cane mixture over popcorn and, working quickly with your hands, toss until most of the popcorn is covered; sprinkle with additional crushed candy cane if desired
- Allow popcorn to set (about 5-minutes), cut brownies into squares, top with popcorn and serve!