This week’s obsession: Navy Brownies
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in San Diego to celebrate her birthday! We spent a long weekend exploring the city, endured some time bundled up on the beach (I have never been so cold on a beach before! And I still managed to get a decent sunburn #IrishLife), and drank a round of birthday sangria (we even got the half@ssed recipe from our very eccentric waiter - which may or may not make an appearance on Baking and Boozing at some point after I decipher it).
During one of our adventures around the city, we took a tour of the USS Midway - an aircraft carrier that is now a museum. Naval aircraft carriers hold a special place in my heart because my dad served on a aircraft carriers while he was in the Navy, and he told me several stories about his times aboard as I was growing up. It was really cool for me to be able to walk through what he called a “floating city” - what with the thousands of people (the USS Midway had over 4,000 people living on it!) who lived and worked on the ship - and to see the truly minuscule living quarters we ask fully grown adults to exist in while serving this country.
Even though this wasn't the aircraft carrier my dad was on back in the day, the crew from his ship did make an appearance. There was a display on the flight deck showing off the different colors that crew members wore according to their jobs, and a nifty little plaque denoting that the models for this display were from the USS Nimitz.
As I was wandering through the galley during this tour, I had to stop to admire an entire wall of double convection ovens #Heaven This was of no interest to anyone else in my party so when I realized that I was alone making googly eyes at the appliances, I rounded the corner quickly so I could catch up to my group.
I walked quickly past a prep table with an open binder that I noticed out of the corner of my eye, and as I took several more steps I realized that it was a recipe book! (My processing speeds are a little slower than usual, apparently.) I walked those same several steps backwards until I got back to the table and saw that it was open to a brownie recipe!
I mean, I wasn’t NOT going to snap a photo of this recipe. I had immediately decided that I was going to make it, and only after I got back to San Francisco did I examine the ingredients list. Imagine my surprise that there was no butter (maybe it’s hard to keep butter fresh during a 9 month voyage?) or whole eggs (this one I totally get. Frozen egg whites are super easy to store, plus they don’t spoil nearly as quickly as fresh eggs, since they’re… well… frozen. Pro-tip: just don’t try to whip frozen egg whites for a meringue and you should be fine.) in the recipe. But SURPRISE! There was prune purée instead.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. But here’s a fun fact: prune purée can be used to replace fats such as butter, oil, and even egg yolks, which kind of explains the rest of the recipe, don’t you think? At first I was stumped about where to find prune purée in a small enough quantity that I wouldn’t have to find at least 10 more recipes that call for prune purée so it wouldn't go to waste. But then I remembered - baby food is an excellent source for purées in small quantities. And since I do almost all of my grocery shopping online now, I am bracing myself for the onslaught of baby related ads that I’m about to get because of this 🤦🏻♀️
Oh right, you had a question earlier about my use of the term “small quantities” when the recipe from the photo so clearly states that you need 3 ⅓ POUNDS of prune purée. Here's what happened: I quartered the recipe from the photo and converted it entirely to grams. Then when I looked at the amount of baking soda and vanilla (if a recipe calls for 18g of baking soda and 18g of vanilla extract, you can bet it will be a LARGE recipe. For comparison, most baked goods like cakes and brownies will call for 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, which is 5 g.) and decided to quarter it again, and that is how I got the recipe down to a “small quantity” of prune purée - from 3 ½ pounds of it to 95 g, or two small baby food containers of it.
Unfortunately when I was baking these brownies, I was either battling a second wave of COVID vaccine side effects or I got the black lung, Pop, because my whole body ached and I had a sumo wrestler sitting on my chest. Therefore, I created no video today. (SIDE NOTE: I woke up feeling GREAT this morning and kind of feel bad about not recording anything for you. My apologies!) But rest assured there will be plenty more video footage to come! My next episode of Baking and Boozing is almost ready, so stay tuned, especially if you’re a pistachio or vodka lover! 🍸
And to make up for the lack of video, the least I can do is share the quarter of a quarter of the recipe of these brownies for you to make. Fair warning - these are not an over the top, “knock your socks off” kind of brownie like these or these, but instead more of a throwback to cafeteria style brownies if you miss the good ole days. They are moist, but very cake-like. I thought for sure I’d be able to taste at least a hint of prune in the final product, but the chocolate neatly covered it all. And then, because of who I am as a person, I dusted them all with powdered sugar, which is not what the original recipe called for, but hey. Sometimes you’ve got to live a little!
So here it is - a very reasonably sized recipe of Navy Brownies:
94g AP Flour
43g cocoa powder
4.5g b. Powder
1.5g b. Soda
95g prune purée
20g melted baking chocolate, cooled
70g egg whites
Preheat oven to 325*F.
Line a 9x9 square pan with parchment paper.
Sift together AP Flour, sucrose, cocoa powder, b. Powder, b. Soda, and salt. Set aside.
In your mixing bowl, mix together prune purée, H2O, melted chocolate, and vanilla on low for 1 min.
Add egg whites and mix gently until combined.
Fold in dry ingredients until combined.
Pour into prepared pan and bake on convection, 18-20 mins or until set.
Happy eating, y’all!
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