Sunday 4 December 2011

Penguin Eggs

I’ve been making my Triple Chocolate Brownies for years now.  I don’t make them often because they’re not inexpensive to bake, and when I do make them I use every bit of the brownie, even the edges that I trim off before cutting it into squares for serving.    

I’m ‘way too frugal to throw those trimmed edges away. I used to put the brownie trimmings in a bowl for my husband to nibble on, and he enjoyed them, but I thought there must be something new and better that I could make from all that lovely chocolate goodness.  I thought back to when I worked in a bakery and the baker made Rum Balls as a means of using up cake and cookie crumbs.  It seemed a pretty good idea to try making something similar with my brownie trimmings.  I did try it, I liked the results, and I’ve made them ever since.  I call them Penguin Eggs.

Penguin Eggs are not baked (other than when you cook the brownie) so they’re quick (and ridiculously simple) to make.  They freeze well, so you can store them away for a time when you want a special little something-something with which to end a meal or grace an evening coffee.  

There’s not really a specific list of ingredients or quantities for this treat.  It’s more a method than a recipe.  

I start by putting all of the brownie trimmings in my food processor. 

I process the brownie trimmings into coarse crumbs, then I gradually add some kind of spirits a bit at a time until the mixture is moist enough to bind together.  I’ve used various liquors for this.  I’m not a fan of rum, but I have used port, brandy, bourbon (my favourite), Kahlua, Amaretto, and—this year—Bailey’s.  They all work, so use whatever tastes best to you.

When the mixture is moist enough to form into balls, turn it out into a shallow, wide bowl and begin scooping it and rolling it.  I make my Penguin Eggs about 1 inch in diameter, using little ice cream scoop and then forming the balls by rolling the dough between my palms.

Once you’ve got all the dough rolled, you can roll each piece in something to coat it.  I like to add a contrasting texture, or taste, or both.  Ground walnuts, pecans, almonds, or pistachios work well, as do shredded coconut, or even crispy rice cereal.  If you like the slightly bitter taste of unsweetened chocolate, you can roll the dough in sifted cocoa or in sifted cocoa spiced up with a little cayenne.  This year I rolled some of my Penguin Eggs in finely chopped walnuts and some in shredded coconut.

If you’re not going to serve your Penguin Eggs right away, they should be stored in an airtight container and either refrigerated or frozen.  Bring them to room temperature again before serving them.

That’s it, really.  Nothing to it.  Just plate them on something pretty and prepare to delight  your guests.

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