There are some desserts that should never go out of style and a Baked Alaska is one of them. This retro classic is well worth making and it is always a hit when you bring it out at a party. My Brownie Baked Alaska starts with a dark chocolate brownie base that is topped with vanilla ice cream and covered in a layer of fluffy meringue. The dessert is baked in the oven before serving, giving the meringue a toasted marshmallow flavor and giving the dessert an amazing combination of temperatures and textures!
A Baked Alaska is not a difficult dessert to make, but, like many frozen desserts, it requires a little bit of planning because it has several components to it. The brownies must be baked in advance and cooled completely before you can start assembling the rest of the dessert. I baked my brownies in 4-inch Mini Springform Pans, which are the perfect size to make Baked Alaskas for two. The small brownies bake and cool quickly, which speeds up the time it will take you to make the dessert. Not only do the small pans streamline the baking process, but – more importantly – they allow you to get just the right ratio of ice cream, brownie and meringue in every single bite.
Once you have your brownies baked, you are ready to start putting together the other layers of the dessert. The second layer is the ice cream, and it is arguably the most important layer. You don’t need to worry about your ice cream melting in the oven, provided that you allowed it to freeze completely before finishing off the dessert. The firmly-frozen ice cream is insulated just enough by the layer of meringue that it will remain cold and unmelted during its short trip in the oven. I usually put my meringue under the broiler, but you can also use a regular convection oven that is set to a very high temperature. It should only take 2-3 minutes to brown the meringue. If you happen to have a kitchen torch handy, you can simply toast the meringue with that and skip the oven completely.
I typically use vanilla ice cream in my Baked Alaskas and this recipe is no exception. I simply love the classic combination of vanilla and chocolate and feel that you can’t go wrong with it in a dessert. That said, If you’re a chocoholic, you can use a rich chocolate ice cream for another layer of chocolate. Strawberry-lovers can choose a strawberry ice cream for a Neapolitan feel. You can even use a fruity sorbet for a bold pop of color. Whatever flavor you choose, be sure it is a high quality ice cream so that your dessert tastes as delicious as possible when you finally dig your spoon in for a bite!
Since each brownie will serve two, you’ll get a total of eight servings of Baked Alaska out of this recipe. You can also simply freeze your brownie bases with ice cream on top and make up an additional batch of meringue to finish them off before serving if you don’t intend to eat them all at once.
Brownie Baked Alaska
1 batch Dark Chocolate Brownies (recipe below)
approx 3 cups vanilla ice cream
8 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place brownie bases on a piece of parchment paper.
Shape the ice cream into 3/4-cup scoops and place on top of dark chocolate brownie bases. Freeze for at least 2 hours, until very firm.
Just before serving, prepare the meringue. Preheat oven to 450F or turn on broiler.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, if using a hand mixer) and beat until slightly foamy.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar melts and comes to a boil. As sugar comes to a full boil, beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites while mixing on medium speed, continuing until all the sugar syrup has been added. Add in vanilla extract. Continue to beat the meringue until it has cooled to room temperature.
Using an offset spatula, spread the meringue into a thick layer over the frozen brownies.
When brownies are completely covered, bake for 2-3 minutes, until the meringue is golden on top. You can also use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue.
Dark Chocolate Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease four 4-inch mini springform pans.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate in the microwave. This should be done in 30-second intervals to avoid overcooking the mixture. Stir in cocoa powder. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla extract until mixture is smooth. Whisk in chocolate mixture, then stir in the flour just until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth. Divide brownie batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow brownies to cool in their pans before removing them.
Makes 4 large, round brownies.