This past May I went to Europe for a well-deserved vacation, visit family….and pretty much eat my weight in bread and butter. 10 pounds later, I am back in San Francisco and I am ready to incorporate some of the things I’ve learned from some amazingly talented people. One of the cities I visited was Brussels, home to the best chocolatiers in the world. Chocolate and classic truffles are everywhere in Brussels but what fascinated me the most was how some patissiers were using pieces of chocolate to decorate the top of cakes. That got me thinking. How could I take this idea to the next level? And what dessert could handle an extra overload of chocolate? “Hmm…oh well, I’ll figure this out later.” And then today I was doing some hard thinking, which is what I call watching trash TV like the Real Housewives of New Jersey (don’t judge), when it hit me. Jersey! Zebra print everywhere! Chocolate Zebra! ZEBRA BROWNIES!!! Yes that’s how my mind works. So here is an easy technique to apply a stunning chocolate pattern to delicious brownies:

Zebra Brownies (recipe from Baked in Redhook, Brooklyn)
 

10 brownies
Ingredients
  • for the brownies:
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs dutch cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • for the deco layer:
  • 10 oz white chocolate
  • 10 oz dark chocolate
  • ½ cup butter

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together to eliminate any clumps.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
  4. Add eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
  7. Melt remaining chocolate and butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Set aside. Place white chocolate in a plastic pastry bag and heat in microwave to melt it in 30 seconds increments. Once melted, pipe out zebra design on a food-safe plastic sheet or parchment paper. Let the design set.
  8. To assemble, pour a third of the dark chocolate onto the brownie and pour the rest on the white zebra pattern. Spread the chocolate using an offset spatula. Flip the design over the brownie and place the whole thing in the fridge to set. After an hour or so, peel the plastic off the design. To cut, dip a sharp knife on hot water, wipe it dry and use the heat to go through the hardened chocolate layer and cut the brownies in pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper. I am using 2 pieces to cover all sides of the pan. It may seem like a lot but it really pays off when it is time to unmold the cake:


In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together to eliminate any clumps:

Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water:

Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth:

Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars:

Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined:

Add the vanilla and stir until combined:

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture (I switched to a larger bowl). Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate:

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top:

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Unmold the brownie and flip it upside down:

Melt remaining chocolate and butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Set aside:

Place white chocolate in a plastic pastry bag and heat in microwave to melt it in 30 seconds increments:

Once melted, pipe out zebra design on a food-safe plastic sheet or parchment paper. I am using a simple zebra pattern I pulled off google. Let the design set:

To assemble, pour 1/3 of the dark chocolate onto the brownie:

 Pour the rest on the white zebra pattern:

Spread the chocolate using an offset spatula. Flip the design over the brownie:

Place the whole thing in the fridge to set:

After an hour or so, peel the plastic off the design.

To cut, dip a sharp knife in hot water, wipe it dry and use the stored-up heat to go through the hardened chocolate layer slowly and cut the brownies in pieces.

Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!!!