Any chef, but especially yacht chefs, should have core recipes, recipes you bust out by memory that always yield the same product. (Consistency is vital.) We need these for when there are leftover ingredients in the fridge looking for purpose. On long charters, we cannot account for what guests are going to consume more or less of, so having a recipe that uses unused precious fruit, for example, is a big must.
I have about 20 desserts and pastries saved in memory, including this one. I have tinkered with it over the years, and since it has no leavening agents, it allows for a more forgiving experimental window. Add nuts, fruit or butterscotch instead of milk chocolate. Use up those leftovers.
Adding an acid fruit such as an orange really highlights the salty component and keeps the dish from being too sweet.
I had the nicest family onboard over New Years who loved these brownies. When not only the kids requested repeat orders, I knew it was time to share.
Using a double boiler (or a pot on the stove, set at simmer, with a little water in it and a steel bowl placed on top creating a seal. Never let water touch the bottom of the bowl and never boil the water.), melt together the two chocolates and butter with a soft spatular, stirring occasionally to incorporate for a smooth end product.
Once smooth, remove from heat. Cool for 1 minute, then add the vanilla and sugar. Whisk while slowly pouring in the eggs.
Depending on if you want individual portions or bars, place in a greased muffin tray or greased baking pan of about 12 x 10.
Bake 20-30 minutes, testing after 20 minutes by poking the brownies with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, they are done. (Remember, brownies don’t have leavening agents so don’t expect them to rise like a cake.)
Place the whole pan on a rack to cool or they will break apart when removing them. Once cooled, remove them and serve immediately. If serving later, pop them back in the oven for 1 minute to warm them up.
I serve my brownies with a milk chocolate mousse and orange segments, but you can add ice cream, cream or frosting. And don’t forget to make extra for the crew.
Mark Godbeer has been a yacht chef for more than 10 years. Contact him through chefmarkgodbeer.com.