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Amaretto Brownies with Saffron Creme Anglaise and Bee Pollen Spice Mix

Dave wanted something chocolate and something creamy. I wanted to play more with Aki and Alex’s bee pollen spice mix, and thought saffron would pull everything together.

I hesitate to call these brownies. They were based on a brownie recipe, but adjusted and baked in muffin tins so that they were practically transformed into rich chocolate cakes. But still, since they remain brownies, this recipe is my entry for browniebabe of the month #2.

The bee pollen spice mix just sings here, adding this wonderful earthy sizzling brightness to the entire dish. It works as brilliantly with desserts as it does with savory dishes.

Matching it with saffron is perfectly sexy, since saffron threads are nothing more than the stigmas of the saffron crocus. The stigma is the part of the plant that receives the male gametes, known as pollen.

Point being, this is easily the sexiest dessert I have ever created – chocolate, a known aphrodisiac, supported and uplifted by male and female sex organs and gametes of flowers.

Spring is here! And Cole Porter is right: “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it – let’s do it, let’s fall in love!”

Amaretto Brownies with Saffron Creme Anglaise and Bee Pollen Spice Mix
Make amaretto brownies (recipe below). Serve with saffron creme anglaise (recipe below) and bee pollen spice mix (recipe below).

Amaretto Brownies
6 1/2 oz chocolate (I used Scharfenberger 70%)
5 tbsp butter
3/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp amaretto
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks.

Melt the chocolate, butter, and sugar together. (I prefer to do this in a double boiler, by which I really just mean a smaller pot in a larger pot with some water in the larger pot.) Remove from heat, and stir in the amaretto and salt. Stir in the egg, followed by the whipped egg whites. Finally, stir in the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for a minute or two, until thick and glossy.

Butter and flour a [smallish but not miniature] muffin tray. Fill each muffin tin about halfway with brownie batter. Bake for 17 minutes, or until done.

Saffron Creme Anglaise
1/2 tsp or so packed saffron threads
1 vanilla bean
1/2 C heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C milk
2 tsp honey

Infuse the saffron and vanilla bean (split in half, seeds thrown in, pod thrown in, too) into the cream by heating it to the point of steaming, then turning off the heat, covering the pot, and letting it just sit together for a while. Use more saffron if need be, until it is as intense as you want it to be. Strain the saffron cream and discard the saffron threads and vanilla bean.

Whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 C sugar until pale yellow.

Set up a bowl in an ice bath.

Mix together the infused cream, milk, honey, and 1/4 C sugar and bring to a boil. Slowly and carefully pour a third of the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking all the while, then pour the yolk mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk, stirring constantly. Continue to stir as you slowly raise the temperature to 182º. Strain it into the bowl in the ice bath, and continue stirring until cool.

Bee Pollen Spice Mix
This is just our approximation of Aki and Alex’s brilliant inspiration. We used equal amounts of bee pollen and grains of paradise, with much smaller amounts of sugar and salt added in. Grind everything together fairly coarsely and you’re done.

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7 Responses to “Amaretto Brownies with Saffron Creme Anglaise and Bee Pollen Spice Mix”

  1. Danielle, these are posh brownies! Looks delicious!

  2. myriam says:

    oh they look wonderful. and i love the idea of saffron. thanks for joining browniebabes! myriam

  3. nice use of the spice blend, brownies look divine


  4. Timothy says:

    Omigosh! Your shots are just incredible. I could just grab out and take a bite off your brownies. Thanks for sharing !

  5. Jenn says:

    Wow, that is really something else! Nice job on the creativity front – I am sure it was delicious as well!

  6. Victoria says:

    mmmm, absolutely gorgeous. and those lamb shanks look fantastic.=)

  7. Joshua says:

    found this page while looking for some bee pollen recipes. this one looks yummy really!

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May 2007
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