Café Brûlot is one of the spectacular presentation dishes of New Orleans fine dining. It requires a special brûlot bowl and ladle and a lot of skill and daring. Coffee is mixed with brandy, orange liqueur, orange and lemon peels and spices and lit afire. In the traditional restaurants of New Orleans, the whole lot is rolled out on a cart and an expert waiter makes a big show of mixing and lighting the concoction. In a serious Café Brûlot show, the flaming brew is ladled down long strips of orange peel, creating a rather spectacular blue flame.
All this is quite a lot of work, as you can imagine, and as I have neither the equipment not the fearlessness to do it myself, I took the flavors of café brûlot and incorporated them into a deep, chocolate-y brownie that makes a perfect Mardi Gras treat.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons instant coffee powder (dark roast or espresso)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup brandy
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 Tablespoons
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons orange liqueur
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9 by 13 brownie pan with non-stick foil or foil sprayed with cooing spray, leaving a nice overhang to lift the brownies out.
- Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave or a large pot on the stove. Stir in the lemon zest, then stir in the cocoa powder, coffee powder, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in the sugar until well combined. Stir the eggs into the batter, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, then stir in the flour and salt until the batter is completely mixed and smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes. Sprinkle the brandy evenly over the top of the brownies and leave to cool.
- When the brownies are cool, beat the stick of butter, powdered sugar, liqueur and orange zest together until completely smooth. I prefer to use an electric mixer for this. Spread the topping over the cooled brownies. Chill the brownies for about an hour in the fridge.
- Melt the 4 Tablespoons of butter and the chocolate in a small bowl or measuring jug in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water. Spread the melted chocolate in a thin layer over the brownies. I like to grate a little more orange zest over the chocolate for decorative effect
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