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Smoked Brownies with Strawberry Reduction

There’s just something about a soft, warm brownie that takes me right back to my childhood. Brownies never lasted long in my house as a kid, especially the ones that were frosted with my grandma’s chocolate fudge frosting. As the years have gone on, my love for brownies hasn’t changed, but the way they’re prepared now has all kinds of different directions.

I wanted to test my Primo with a baking challenge and I thought a smoky, chocolatey brownie sounded delicious. It didn’t disappoint! Constructed with the highest quality ceramics and American made quality, the Primo’s design offers unmatched cooking versatility! I used the deflector plates today to defer the direct heat from burning the bottoms of my brownies. But the REAL challenge in my mind was whether or not it could hold that lower temperature in order to bake the brownies evenly and thoroughly.

I used just a basic brownie recipe with no rising agents or tricky ingredients. Brownies should be simple, in my mind; something you can just whip up if you’ve got a sweet tooth, or if you need a quick dessert that won’t steal the show from your entree. I filled my Primo up only about 1/2 way with Primo’s 100% natural lump charcoal. I added a single Primo Quick Start as low down into the charcoal as I could. After lighting the Quick Start, I closed the lid and opened the vents until the grill reached 350 degrees. Then I closed the vents about 3/4 of the way so that the smoke would fill the oval and the temperature would hold. It worked perfectly! The brownies LOVED the Primo. They were evenly cooked in 30 minutes, with a quick check at the half way point. I removed them from the heat and set them aside to cool on my ceramic table, but I didn’t feel like I was done.

These brownies needed just a little something more, and I didn’t want to waste my beautiful blazing charcoal! I threw together some roughly chopped strawberries, a cup of sugar and some lemon juice & zest. As the grill continued to burn slowly, I came back every 10 minutes or so to smash up the strawberries until they reduced into almost a jam like sauce. The result was AMAZING!

I plated these up with a big ice cream cone style dollop of fresh whipped cream and just a bit of chopped basil. Yes, BASIL! If you haven’t had strawberries with basil, you’re missing out!

This recipe was fun, easy and super delicious! If you’re spending a day grilling, this would be a simple addition to the menu at the beginning while the grill is heating up, or toward the end as the grill is starting to cool down. Either way, your sweet tooth is about to get a treat!

Smoked Brownies with Strawberry Reduction

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 60 minutes / Servings: 9 brownies

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tbsp. Hot coffee or espresso

  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Strawberry Reduction ingredients:

  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tsp. Lemon zest

  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh Whipped Cream

  • Finely chopped fresh basil

For the Brownies:

  1. Fill your primo 1/2 way up with Primo 100% natural charcoal. Place a single Quick Start stick as far down as you can into the center of the charcoal pile. Light the Quick Start stick and arrange the deflector plates into place. Close the lid with the vents open. When the grill reaches 350 degrees, close both vents 3/4 of the way to maintain and hold the temperature.

  2. Line a 9x9 metal brownie pan with tin foil.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Mix on low speed to combine for one minute.

  4. In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, hot coffee and vanilla. Whisk until combined.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and continue to mix on medium speed for one minute.

  6. Transfer the sticky brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan and place it onto the Primo. Bake for 30 minutes, checking half way through. When finished a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the Strawberry Reduction:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Use a potato masher to break up the strawberries and combine the ingredients.

  2. Place the pan onto the Primo after the brownies finish cooking. Close the lid and check on the mixture about every 15 minutes or so, continuing to mash up the strawberries as they cook. When it’s done, the mixture will have reduced by about 2/3 and will resemble a loose jam, about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Place one of the brownies onto a serving dish. Top with whipped cream, strawberry reduction and chopped basil.

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