10 February 2010

Blood Orange Olive Oil Brownies and Parfaits


Oil and Vinegar On Tap

Along Cedar street in downtown Camas you will find a new shop that has this small town talking. It's called Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars and it sells a huge selection of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. These are on tap and available to taste before you buy.

It's an interesting buying experience. Once you've tasted a selection of oils and vinegars, and decided on your favorites, you can try their selection of sea salts and teas from around the world. I found the Northwest Alder Smoked Salt particularly interesting.

Smelling and tasting samples of oil and vinegar it is easy to imagine dipping a piece of crusty bread in the Italian herbed Olive Oil. Dreaming of the flavorful salad dressing that could be made with Ripe Summer Peach or Fig Balsamic Vinegar lights up my winter doldrums with a ray of sunshine. I begin to feel hungry thinking of grilled fish or chicken drizzled with Whole Fruit Lemon Olive Oil. I have to admit, though, I felt a little bit challenged by some of the unique flavors I found there, particularly the Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and the Whole Fruit Blood Orange Olive Oil. I couldn't quite get my mind around how best to use those flavors.

New Ideas

Luckily the owner had some recipes to offer. One of those was for some fantastic sounding Fudge Brownies made with Whole Fruit Blood Orange Olive Oil, ground almonds and a mere 1/2 cup of flour. It inspired a few ideas of my own. I took home the recipe, a bottle of the flavored olive oil and a bottle of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.

The result is a lusciously rich, and arguably healthful, brownie, brimming with walnuts and delicately infused with orange. The use of ground almonds is an interesting element that adds depth and a touch of mystery to the orange flavor. It also seems to add moisture to the texture. The almonds and walnuts are said to be a good source of heart healthy protein, the chocolate is rich in flavonoids and extra virgin olive oil is said to contain phytochemicals which help to ward off some types of cancer. Overall it made an extraordinary brownie to share with someone you love.

I have to admit I added a touch of scarcely redeemable heavy whipped cream laced with the Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar as a topping for this Valentine's Day treat. In fact it was such a nice complement to the brownie that I also layered it, with the scraps left over from the brownies I cut into hearts, to make a delicious parfait. In every incarnation these brownies tasted divine.

Navidi's Blood Orange Fudge Brownies
from Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars

1½ cups walnuts
9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup blood orange olive oil
4 eggs
¾ cup almonds, ground in food processor
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking soda. set aside.

Melt the chocolate slowly until smooth. Stir in the olive oil. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, almonds, sugar and orange zest. Add the chocolate mixture stirring until smooth.

Fold in the flour mixture and then the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. When done, remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool. Let stand for five minutes then unmold onto the cooling rack.

When cool cut into squares or, using cookies cutters, into hearts or other shapes.

Garnish with Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream and a chocolate Filigree Heart, if desired.

Note: If you are serving heart shaped brownies there will be scraps left over from the edges. These can be put to good use by layering them in a pretty stemmed glass with light and crunchy Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies and Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream (or plain whipped cream, if you prefer). Garnish with a chocolate Filigree Heart and you have another pretty and delicious dessert variation.


Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream

½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon chocolate balsamic vinegar

Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Beat at medium to high speed until peaks form.

Enjoy!

6 comments:

scmom (Barbara) said...

Those brownies look fabulous. I have a tree nut/peanut allergic kid and cannot make them, but they look fabulous!

grace said...

you know, the orange-chocolate combination is way under-used. i imagine these particular brownies are tremendously tasty, even without that awesome whipped cream. :)

noble pig said...

Wow, I love the twist on flavors here, I can imagine the deliciousness, especially with the blood orange ones!

theUngourmet said...

Blood orange olive oil sounds amazing! What a great shop! Brownies are just about my favorite treat on earth, there's just something about them. I love the flavors of chocolate and orange together as well. Great recipe!

Bellini Valli said...

I hope they go nationwide with these olive oils, etc. The bloohd orange sounds especially appealing.

steelblue71 said...

I'd just like to say thank you SO MUCH for posting this.

I live in Olympia and I had recently been down to Vancouver/Camas to visit a friend and she insisted I travel with her to Navidi's. We took the recipe, made it, and it was amazing, so I really wanted to make it for Mother's Day on Sunday.

However, I took only the business card and left the recipe in Vancouver. I saw a couple of other recipes for Blood Orange Brownies online, but none that contained the zest or particulars. I visited Navidi's website and even emailed my friend for the recipe...then I saw this and it totally made my day.

Thanks again!
-Lorie