The comfort of life’s essentials: food, fire, and friendships.Julia Child
Cooking over a campfire brings back the memories of childhood. Times when we stretched our imaginations while staring up at the stars. When we listened to the crackling wood of the fire and smelled the aromas of dinner percolating over the grill and coals. Oh, and then those ooey-gooey toasted marshmallows squeezed between some graham crackers and a thick piece of chocolate, all melting in your hands before it made it to your mouth. Simple goodness. Simpler times.
You, too, can create this childhood feeling for your friends and family in your own backyard or kitchen oven. For this Sunday’s dinner dessert, I’m recreating a skillet brownie with vanilla ice cream, prepared and cooked in a personalized cast iron skillet! The brownies by themselves are so decadently rich with chocolate, it’s even an ideal recipe on it’s own.
This skillet brownie recipe can be made completely over the coals or over the stovetop and finished in the oven. The ingredients double well for a larger crowd.What makes this recipe truly fun and nostalgic is the personal-sized 6-inch cast iron skillet.
After you purchase one, make sure to “season” it. Here are some pointers:
- Scrub it well in hot soapy water.
- Dry thoroughly.
- Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil, bacon grease, or melted shortening over the skillet.
- Place in oven at 375 degrees and bake for one hour.
- Let cool and remove some of the excess grease.
A good vanilla ice cream is the “icing on the cake,” and I’m sharing my favorite one, which pairs amazingly well with this brownie.
Special Note: The dark, mouth-melting, warm, chocolate brownie and the cold creaminess of the vanilla ice cream will leave you with an irresistible taste of heaven on earth, tempting you to eat more and more. So, don’t be surprised if some of those “shared” pans become someone’s personal dessert alone. They’re just that amazing!
Serves: 8 (from 2 6-inch skillets)
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup salted butter, plus more, melted, for greasing skillet
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Vanilla Ice Cream (See recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using a BBQ grill, preheat to 350 to 400 degrees.
- Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Heat medium saucepan over low. Add chocolate, butter, oil to saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla to chocolate-butter mixture; stir together until smooth and thoroughly incorporated. Add flour mixture; stir gently until just combined.
- Grease skillets with melted butter. Pour in batter, spreading evenly.
- If grilling, place skillet on grates on the unlit side of the grill. Grill covered until a wooden pick inserted in center of brownies comes out clean, approximately 40-45 minutes.
- If baking in oven, bake in preheated oven approximately 35 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool in skillet for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2-1/4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
- Combine the cream, whole milk and vanilla bean paste into a medium pot. Start to heat mixture over low heat.
- Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a small bowl until well combined.
- When the cream mixture is warm to the touch, remove from the heat. Carefully, add 1/4 of the cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly until blended. Do not add all of the cream mixture at once to the eggs. Add slowly to the heated cream to give the yolks time to temper. Whisk the tempered yolks into the remaining warmed cream mixture. Return pot to medium-low heat.
- Cook the ice cream base over medium low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean pods and scrape vanilla beans into ice cream or add pure vanilla extract. Pour ice cream mixture into a bowl to cool.
- Fill a large bowl with ice. Place the container of ice cream in the ice bath. Stir often and let cool. Then place into a container in the refrigerator to continue chilling. (It is best to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. The colder the better before it goes into the ice cream machine.)
- While the ice cream base has cooled, pour into an ice cream machine and churn according to the machine’s instructions.
- When finished churning, transfer to an airtight container. Allow ice cream to harden in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.