Sup folks, it’s white day today and, if you haven’t heard of the holiday before, you might think that it sounds a tad controversial. But, in reality, it’s just the japanese holiday where people give back to those who gave them valentine’s chocolates.
No, the real controversy, today, is going to come from my recipe. Because, while I’m following the white day tradition of cooking up chocolate-based sweet treats, I’m also going to be adding in black garlic. As suggested by the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.
I know that that’s going to raise eyebrows, at the very least, because most people seem to think that garlic should never go with sweets. And normally, those people would be correct. But this isn’t normal garlic.
Raw, cooked or even caramelised, the bulb has an intense, aromatic and sometimes almost fiery quality to it, which belongs as far away from chocolate cake as one can possibly get. But, by cooking it low and slow for a whopping fourteen days straight, the act of turning garlic black gets rid of every last ounce of that pungency. Leaving behind only rich, earthy undertones, a dark, balsamicky sweetness and a slight hint of anise.
And I don’t know about you but that sounds like perfect brownie material to me!
Now, as I alluded to up top, this recipe comes to us from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm and you can find their original recipe here. Though I have made a few tweaks to my written up version, because I found my black garlic incredibly hard to mash and wanted to use some of Chilli of the Valley‘s sauce, instead.
Specifically, their carolina reaper Black Death, which focusses on the blackened root for its flavour and, fortunately, comes down quite a bit in heat when I cook it.
Though you still shouldn’t expect anything mild.
Here’s the full list of what I used:
250g madagascan dark chocolate
250g soft brown sugar
150g plain flour
2 tablespoons Black Death sauce
½ teaspoon salt
A short, simple set of ingredients which, as you can see, I’ve converted to metric. Because, well, I’m british like that and it honestly confuses me that the garlic farm aren’t. I mean, just look how nicely those nine ounces of chocolate, that cup of butter and the cup and a half of sugar convert to the same weight.
But let’s move on. Let’s crank up the oven to one-eighty degrees centigrade, so that it can preheat, and get to greasing a thirty centimetre baking tray.
Then, with that out of the way, we can begin working on the recipe proper. Which is where the next change comes in.
For the garlic farm’s brownies, they set up a double boiler to melt their butter and chocolate together but, as we learnt during my last reaper recipe, the pros prefer to melt chocolate in the microwave. Heating it for thirty seconds at a time and stirring well to ensure no burning or separation.
Because, contrary to what you might think, water can get too hot for chocolate. And it can also really ruin the emulsion if even a few drops get in the mix.
So, as long as you keep a watchful eye on your chocolate and melt the last little bits just by stirring, you’ll have a far easier time with the ol’ ping box. And you’ll get a beautiful, red-brown blend of butter and chocolate, like this:
Which I’m afraid we’re immediately going to ruin the smooth, glossy appearance of with sugar.
Stir it through, sieving to remove clumps, if needed. Then do the same with the vanilla and salt.
At which point it will probably look quite the mess but, by whisking in the eggs, one at a time, you can bring it all back to something resembling a batter. And then the flour just finishes it all off.
Or rather, it would but remember what I said about water? There’s also water in Chilli of the Valley’s sauce, despite its thickness, and it would curdle the entire recipe if we added it at the same point as the pure black garlic in the original. So, instead, we have to work the sauce in now, after the flour, just before cooking. In order to protect the chocolate as much as possible.
In order to keep the batter as smooth, shiny and split-free as this:
Then just slap it in the tray and into the oven for twenty-five minutes. Or until its surface crisps up and loses its shine, while the centre is goo-free, yet still soft. A slightly toothsome texture combination that turns just a little bit fudgy, once it starts to dissolve in your mouth, beautifully highlighting the high cocoa content of my madagascan chocolate.
But that’s not the only reason why I chose these bars. Any 70+% dark would have done for that.
No, I picked madagascan chocolate specifically for the red fruit undertones that it brings, which combine with those of the reaper and linger in my throat, along with its low
burn. Both of which far outlast the pepper’s more fragrant top notes.
It’s that melding of fruity flavours which really rounds out the pairing of chocolate and chilli but the black garlic can’t be ignored, either, as it bolsters the rich, dark cocoa with its own, vinegar-free, balsamic richness.
In short, these brownies are a decadent masterpiece. Perfectly balanced – As all things should be – and a real treat for those who like their chocolate hot.
But I can’t take all the credit for their creation and, if that three point five sounds a little too much for you, I would definitely recommend trying out the garlic farm’s original recipe. It is wight day, after all.