Recipe courtesy of Audrey McGinnis

Brownie "Ribs" and Crispy Rice Treat "Corn-on-the-Cob" with Drunk Cherry BBQ Sauce

These brownies are one of the most requested treats at my catering business.
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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 4 hr 25 min
  • Active: 1 hr 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Brownie "Ribs":

Nonstick spray, for pan

3/4 cup cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup hot coffee 

2 cups sugar 

2 eggs, beaten 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

4 large toffee-almond chocolate bars 

1/2 to 1 cup milk chocolate melts 

Fondant Crispy Rice Treat "Corn-on-the-Cob":

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

40 large marshmallows 

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 cups puffed rice cereal 

Fondant  Drunk Cherry "BBQ Sauce":

1/2 cup frozen dark cherries

1/4 cup sugar 

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 

1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Cointreau 

1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 


Special equipment:
a Dresden tool and an airbrush machine with yellow and flesh colors
  1. Brownie "Ribs": Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and baking soda, and blend in 1/3 cup of the melted butter. Add the hot coffee and stir until well blended. Stir in the sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup melted butter to combine.
  3. Sift together the flour and salt, and set aside.
  4. Add the vanilla to the wet mixture, then stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared baking pan, top with the chocolate bars, and then pour the remaining brownie mixture over chocolate bars. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  6. Bake until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting, at least 1 hour.
  7. For the crispy rice treat "corn-on-the-cob": Heat the butter and marshmallows in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the marshmallows are completely melted, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the puffed rice cereal and mix well.
  8. Spray a jellyroll pan with nonstick spray and pour the cereal mixture out onto pan. Spray your hands with nonstick spray and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then cut crosswise into 3-by-10-inch strips.
  9. Roll up strips and press in the ends to smooth.
  10. Knead the fondant to soften, then roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness.
  11. Using a roll of puffed rice as a template to measure, cut a strip of fondant. Roll the puffed rice in fondant and press the seam to seal.
  12. Measure out circles on the fondant that fit ends of your "corn"; press the edges to seal.
  13. Using a Dresden tool, make horizontal and vertical lines in the fondant to create the look of corn kernels.
  14. Using an airbrush machine, lightly cover the "corn" with yellow coloring, leaving random areas without color. Then use the flesh color to create shadowing and depth.
  15. For the drunk cherry "BBQ sauce": In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook down the cherries with the sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until tender, about 15 minutes.
  16. Run the cherry mixture through a blender and then strain back into the saucepan. Stir in the orange liqueur, cider vinegar, vanilla and cayenne, and cook over low heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool.
  17. To finish the brownie "ribs": Melt the chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl set over an inch of simmering water. Stir until smooth.
  18. Spread the melted chocolate to a 1/8-inch thickness on a silicone baking mat. Run through the chocolate with a fork to create texture.
  19. Carefully pull the baking mat onto a baking sheet. Place in the freezer to set up, about 5 minutes.
  20. Run a knife along the edges of the brownie pan, then flip onto a cutting board. Using a large knife, cut the brownies into 1 1/2-by-4-inch strips.
  21. Cut the set chocolate to the same length as brownies, but gently break off the edges so they are more ragged.
  22. Place chocolate strips on top of the brownies.
  23. Make small narrow tubes of fondant and cut into small pieces, enough for two for each "rib"; these will be the rib "bones." Press a piece of the cut fondant onto each end of the ribs.
  24. To plate: Place two "ribs," crisscrossing, on each plate. Set a piece of "corn" next to the "ribs."
  25. Stir the "BBQ sauce" and then drizzle the desired amount over the ribs. Enjoy!