A few weeks ago I was offered a bottle of Malibu. For me, Malibu is oh so very 2005. A smell and taste that reminds me of very late nights, dancing to The Killers and Britney Spears one after the other, and eating chips while giggling with my best friend Anna. The idea was that I put the Malibu to use in a creative way – in baking or cooking, instead of straight up with a splash of pineapple juice – the way I used to drink it back in the days of my youth.
Christmas sweets are difficult. The desserts of this season really aren’t for me. I’m not into sweets at the best of times, really. Christmas for me is all about the cheese, and a dark, dense pudding of dried fruit really isn’t my idea of fun. I do, however, love to put a festive spin on a classic. These brownies are rich and indulgent, but the Malibu and desiccated coconut cut through and add a hint of Caribbean flavour. Perfect for listening to “Mary’s Boy Child” by Boney M (my favourite Christmas song) and having a dance in your living room.
As for the melting snowmen, well I can’t take the credit for that idea – it’s one of those Pinterest projects that’s all over the internet. Cute little snowmen with perplexed faces sitting on top of sugar cookies. This kind of thing is usually a bit fiddly for me, but in reality, I found this pretty easy – little hassle for a nice pay-off. They’re fun, festive and guaranteed to get a smile. Take a batch to your Christmas gatherings and you’ll definitely be in the good books.
The brownie recipe is fairly spongey – there’s a lot of rise from the little baking powder that goes in. You’ve got two options, really. Bake for 20 minutes and you should get a nice gooey middle. Go for a bit longer (no more than 25 minutes) and you’ll have a springy, cake-like texture. I’ve adapted the recipe from my Fail-Safe Blondies, adding cocoa and a few other things, swapping the vanilla extract for the Malibu.
- 200g Plain Flour
- 25g Cocoa Powder
- 1tsp Baking Powder
- 1tsp Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 5tsp Malibu
- 60g Light Brown Sugar
- 50g Dark Muscovado Sugar
- 165g Unsalted Butter
- 75g Milk Chocolate
- 75g White Chocolate
- 15g Desiccated Coconut
- 25g Icing Sugar
- 1 tbsp Water (approx)
- 4 Marshmallows
- Orange Midget Gems
- Black Icing Tube
- Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one by one, followed by the Malibu. Beat until smooth.
- Fold the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Chop the chocolate into shards and mix into the batter, with the coconut, until evenly distrubuted.
- Transfer to a greased tin (approx 8x8) and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºc for 20 minutes. 25 for a firmer, more cakey finish.
- While cooling, mix the icing sugar with water a little at a time until a thick icing forms.
- Once the brownie is completely cooled (this could take a while, so plan ahead!), cut into four pieces. Spoon a little icing into the centre of each brownie. It should spread into an artful splat, but if you need to, help it along with a spoon.
- Use your black tube icing to decorate marshmallows with eyes, smiles and anything else you fancy. Use a tiny blob to stick on an orange midget gem for the nose.
- Place the marshmallow on to the top of the brownie, the tacky icing should hold it in place. Add buttons and arms to your melted snowman's body.