This month’s Kitchen PLAY Wild Card Progressive Party features Lindsay Olives. 5 courses have already been served–you can find them here–but the 6th is missing. That’s where I come in. Because those willing to accept the challenge of conceiving a 6th course, completing the meal, will be entered in a random drawing for $200. I accept that challenge!
The obvious thing missing from this Progressive Play party was dessert, but dessert is not the first thing you think of when considering olives. In fact, I can’t recall ever choosing olives when seeking dessert. With their unique flavor, it’s hard to imagine them working well with sweets–they’d clearly overpower them. This was a problem. But I was not to be dissuaded. If this would be a challenge, then let it be a real one and see if this could work!
My first thoughts centered around olive oil ice cream with a balsamic sauce, cooking chopped olives in the sauce. However, the olives I was hoping to use–California Green Ripe Naturals–could not be found despite making 4 stops in search of them. All I could locate were the Recloseable containers of pitted olives, more suited to snacking than ice cream. I would have to change my game plan.
The more I pondered my options, the more I fell back on purees. Pureed apples, prunes, and bananas sitting in for oil. Pureed black beans and garbanzo beans for flour. There had to be a keen way to use pureed olives in a dessert. This seemed like the best avenue to pursue.
So I whizzed a container of drained and rinsed olives around in my mini food processor, and I got to thinking. What kinds of desserts do you not mind a bit of a briny taste? Where do salty and sweet work well together? (Where don’t they work well would have been a more likely candidate for an answer!) And I settled on brownies. I would use these pureed olives to replace some of the butter and all of the salt, adding a dimension to this fudgey treat never before experienced! Eureka!
I’ll admit I skeptical. It took some courage to sample the batter. There were still some small chunks of olive despite meeting with the blade and I could see them there, a sharp reminder of the lunacy I was pursuing. A tentative lick. And then another. Before I knew it, I had licked the spatula clean. It was exactly that salty-sweet combo I sought, the kind that you just can’t get enough of. This would be it! This would be perfect!
Your best bet is to not tell tentative tasters what’s inside. An open mind is necessary, for preconceived notions will only ruin the experience. For the brave souls who venture forward on this quest, they will be rewarded with something special. A whole new way of eating olives that messes with the mind a bit, but presents such a strong case for including them that it’s difficult to imagine NOT having them in your brownies. Free your mind and give it a try–you won’t be sorry!
Olive Toffee Brownies
- 8 Tablespoons 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up
- 5 ounces semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate cut up
- 3 ounces unsweetened bakers chocolate cut up
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- 6 1/5- ounce can Lindsay Olives Recloseables large pitted olives, rinsed, drained, & pureed (comes out to about 3/4 cup once pureed)
- 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler, or in a microwave at 50% power at 30-second intervals. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the eggs, sugars, and vanilla bean scrapings until lifting the paddle from the bowl produces ribbons.
- On low speed, mix in the pureed olives.
- Continuing on medium-low, mix in the chocolate in a constant stream.
- Add the flour and let it mix on low until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer.
- Stir in the toffee bits, then spread into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until there's a nice crust on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving.
The toffee bits pretty much melt into the brownies, but that's part of their charm. They create little pockets of moistness that are pretty awesome.