Some say presentation enhances enjoyment of food. I’d argue that what it’s called, and how it’s described, is every bit as important and can be the difference that elevates the dish to a whole new level of indulgent decadence.
I recently chose a couple of recipes based entirely on their names. The resulting dessert was a decadent temptation far beyond their normal reach.
I’m a word girl, a lover of language, and a recipe named with come-hither allure attracts me like an ant to spilled chocolate sauce. Certain recipes — even those I’ve never tried — can hover in my consciousness for years, calling to me, whispering my name.
The household birthday boy had requested frosting-less brownies rather than cake.
“No frosting?” I asked, worrying that a brownie on a plate would seem rather demure.
He stared dreamily into the distance.
“Well, maybe some chocolate sauce.”
Saucy brownies sound soft and soggy, but I knew that if I served dressed up brownies with ice cream and special sauce, I could call them brownie sundaes. Then they’d be saucy — in a cheeky kind of way.
I needed to find a brownie recipe with va-va-voom power. Pastries to please. How to choose from the bazillions of brownies out there? It was a no-brainer — all in the name.
A while back, the Internet was abuzz with talk of “slutty brownies.” Without knowing anything other than their name, I knew they’d be cheap. They’d be easy. They’d whip necks and draw fans. Sanctimonious health-food fanatics and food snobs might gasp in dismay, but these were the brownies for celebrations marked by gastronomic promiscuity. They’d flaunt their stuff, calories and gluten and carbs in all the right places. The bawdy brownies would be oh so bad, but sumputous.
A Slutty Brownie would need to be drenched in a sauce as illicit as the brownie itself. A friend of mine serves her guests “chocolate dope,” a homemade goo — not too sweet, not too rich and pretty darned addictive. A perfect topping.
As I served my guests, I whispered to them the names of the desserts, being sure the kids were out of earshot. I wanted my guests to appreciate their indulgence — throw care to the wind and just enjoy.
Overland Park mom and freelancer Emily Parnell writes weekly.
You’ll need one recipe of chocolate chip cookie dough, a recipe of brownie mix and a package or two of Oreo cookies. I used boxed mixes for both the cookie and the brownie batters.
Line a 9x9 pan with foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray.
Press the cookie mix into the bottom of the pan.
Cover the cookie dough with Oreos. No need to overlap, it’s OK if not all the dough is covered.
Pour the brownie mix over the Oreos.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Poke the top with a toothpick to see that it comes out clean to test for doneness.
2 2/3 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
Boil 7-10 minutes (Will be a thin syrup, thickens slightly when cool.)
Makes 1 quart. Cover and keep refrigerated.