Hazelnut Brownies and Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Hazelnut Brownies and Roasted Banana Ice Cream


This happened. 

Do you see that? These brownies are the answer to all my oozing chocolatey desires. I'm not kidding around here. They are my everything.

And, oh, that ice cream!

I got my first taste of homemade brownies a little over a year ago when my roommate, Julie, whipped up her go-to Martha batch. Over time I've learned to modify the recipe a bit to my liking... and by "modify" I mean I just add more chocolate. They've got a flaky-baked layer on top, soft-chewy edges, and a melt in your mouth center. I'm basically salivating just describing these brownies. 

If you didn't know it yet, brownies are an easy route to go when you need a homemade dessert a.s.a.p. with little clean-up required. I mean, you can mix the whole thing in one bowl. It doesn't get much easier. However, this  week I knew I needed to jazz my basic recipe up a bit. Some important birthdays came up and I don't just mean mine. Ice cream is a must with brownies and when I decided on a roasted banana ice cream I knew the other flavor I had to include... hazelnut! What goes better with a ripe banana than Nutella? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. With a swirl of homemade hazelnut butter, my not-so-basic brownies were on a whole new level. Sweet. Salty. Mushy. Melt-in-your-mouth madness. 

Top those bad boys off with some roasted banana coconut milk ice cream and you've got a match made in heaven. If you need to make friends and influence people: consider this your guide.

Hazelnut Brownies
(modified from this Martha Stewart recipe)

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 8 oz (about 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup baking chips
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter (recipe following)

First and foremost, preheat your oven to 350°. Line a square baking dish with parchment paper: do not skip this step unless you want your brownies to never leave the pan, like, ever. 

Melt 8 oz of chocolate and stick of butter in double-boiler, stirring consistently. (I actually use a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering, shallow water)

Remove bowl from boiler and let cool on the counter until the bottom of the glass is cool to the touch. This should take about 15 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Once chocolate and butter have cooled, stir in sugar with a large wood spoon (I think any spoon would work but I like this method to ensure the batter isn't over-mixed). Gently mix in eggs, one at a time until all are combined. Stir in vanilla and hazelnut extract. 

Fold in flour making sure to stir batter consistently. You don't want to find any powdery surprises when you go to pour this into your baking dish. Consistency should be somewhat thick. Once batter is uniform you can stir in those baking chips. Chocolate chips also work but you'll get smaller gooey-bits once the brownies come out of the oven. 

Pour your viscous batter into parchment lines baking dish, using a butter knife or frosting spatula to spread evenly. 

Last but certainly not least, swirl in your hazelnut butter. I like to add four evenly sized globs in the four corners of the pan and use a fork to swirl it throughout. Try not to leave too large of chunks of nut butter or someone will end up with a very salty brownie.  (For those looking for an easier alternative to hazelnut butter, you could also swirl in some store-bought Nutella or peanut butter. I'm sure it'd be just as tasty)

Bake brownies in oven for approximately 40 min or until toothpick comes out (mostly) clean. I like to make sure it's still a touch gooey but if you're worried about any uncooked egg you're welcome to bake these longer. 

Let cool for twenty minutes before digging in. 

Hazelnut Butter
(this is a great guide)

  • 8 oz hazelnuts (raw)

Roast hazelnuts in oven on Silpat mat or parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 min.

Pour hazelnuts into the middle of a clean dish cloth and bundle them loosely (should look something like a beggar's purse). Shake hazelnuts for about 60 seconds to remove as much skin from the nuts as possible.

Sift nuts from the roasted skins and place into food processor. The less hazelnut skin left, the creamier your butter will turn out. Process hazelnuts until combined. This should take around 6 to 7 minutes. The nuts will first form a flour like consistency, then eventually turn to butter. Be patient. 

Add a pinch of salt and process for 20 more seconds. Voila!

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

  • 6 small or 4 medium sized bananas
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat!!!)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

In a bowl, mix together brown sugar and room temperature butter to make a paste. Spread over diced bananas on baking sheet. Roast in oven on 400 for about 15 minutes until soft. Your house will smell like banana bread. It will be awesome. When they are soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once bananas are cooled, add to food processor and puree. Consistency will be thick and starchy. 

Mix together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of coconut milk in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in sugar. Simmer for about five minutes until coconut milk mixture starts to thicken. Gradually add in cornstarch mixture while whisking. Simmer for another one to two minutes.

Remove from heat. 

Add pureed bananas and whisk together until combined. For the more textured product, as pictured above, let the ice cream mixture sit for about twenty minutes until cooled, cover with Saran wrap, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. If you'd like a smoother consistency, you can add the mixture to a food processor and blend until homogenous before refrigerating.

After the ice cream blend is chilled, add to ice cream maker and churn for 15 to twenty minutes. Remove and place in airtight container for a minimum of one hour before serving. Ice cream can be stored in freezer for up to two weeks.