I have to admit, I was a bit lost when Dolce & Gabbana requested me to create a recipe for their digital magazine, Swide.
As soon as I read that email, I wished I were Pierre Hermé. He’d know exactly what to do. Who am I to create anything for D&G?
Right after I picked my self-confidence up off the floor, I visited their website for inspiration and came across the Fall/Winter 2011 runway show. As I watched one seductive dress after another, I knew it had to be something with chocolate. Plus, I had the honor of shopping side by side with Domenico and Stefano at Fouquet in Paris, so I know how much they like chocolate.
Now, I do not know much about fashion. My knowledge might even be limited to a few episodes of Project Runway, and the encounter at Fouquet will probably be the closest I’ll ever get to a D&G anything, but I do know my chocolate recipes. And I certainly know a great brownie. One that had the honor of being featured in a Washington Post article by a hero of mine. Yes, I had to bake those brownies.
Because if it is good enough for Nick, it is good enough for everyone. But this is D&G and the recipe was to be exclusive for Swide, so I started thinking… What would make a brownie more seductive? Perhaps a coating of velvety hazelnut butter? Definitely.
What I saw on the runway was quite seductive, but so wisely (and tastefully, of course) camouflaged with transparent fabric. A brownie coated with hazelnut butter would have looked too naked, so I still needed another element. Something to cover the skin just enough to entice. Then the show ended and the whole team of tailors appeared on screen, looking proud and confident. To me, it was an appreciation and celebration of craftsmanship. It was the most inspiring part of the show and I just had to incorporate that into the recipe as well.
I thought, wouldn’t a chocolate lace decoration be perfect? Chocolate lace? As soon as I asked myself that question, I wished I were Jacques Torres. He would have piped what I had in mind in the blink of an eye.
Me? It took me three attempts, 30 minutes each.
The first one turned out horrible. The second one broke into pieces. Damn! Those brownies had to wear lace! Finally, the third one was good enough to top that brownie. How I wish I were fast enough to do it with tempered chocolate, but try piping tempered chocolate for a duration of half an hour with the smallest tip and you’ll see it is almost impossible – unless you are Jacques Torres, of course.
There’s no possible way to keep the chocolate in the piping bag fluid for longer than 10 minutes. I tried using a hair dryer to heat up the tip to get it going, but no luck. A stencil would have been extremely helpful, but that wouldn’t have been haute couture, now would it? And it certainly wouldn’t have celebrated craftsmanship.
Visit Swide for the complete set of photos and a short interview with me. And don’t forget to come back for the recipe.
A heartfelt thank you to Yiğit at D&G for this great opportunity.
BROWNIES with HAZELNUT BUTTER and CHOCOLATE LACE
- 10.5 ounces (300 grams) bittersweet (%70 cacao) chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup (10 tablespoons/150 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (35 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1+1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Hazelnut Butter Frosting:
- One 14-ounce (400 grams) jar smooth hazelnut butter
For Chocolate Lace Decoration:
- 4.5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet (%70 cacao) chocolate, chopped
- To make the brownies, adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular cake pan, line bottom and sides with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the chopped chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt slowly, stirring often. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate followed by the vanilla extract, and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour and cocoa mixture with a spatula. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Trim the top crust and half-an-inch from each side and place in the refrigerator until chilled, for about 30 minutes.
- To make the hazelnut butter frosting, place the hazelnut butter in a small pot over low heat and stir until it is runny. Pour over cooled brownie, smooth the top with a spatula, place the frosted brownies in the refrigerator and chill completely, for about an hour.
- To make the chocolate lace decoration, place the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt slowly, stirring often. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Place a 16-inch-long parchment paper on your work surface. Draw an 8-by-12 inch rectangular with a pencil, turn the other side and place it on a baking tray. Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag fitted with the smallest (about 1 millimeter) plain tip and pipe the lace decoration the size of your brownie. Place the baking tray together with a large offset spatula in the refrigerator and wait until the chocolate is set, for about an hour.
- Transfer the brownie on your serving plate. Remove the chocolate decoration from the refrigerator and with the help of a large chilled offset spatula go underneath the decoration, pick it up and place it on the brownie. Heat the blade of a large knife with a heat gun or stick it in a cup of hot water for a few minutes and then wipe off the water (heating the blade helps with cutting through the chocolate decoration without breaking it into pieces), cut the brownie into 12 identical squares and serve.
Wow! that really looks like a real lace pattern in there.. like you actually placed some authentic lace drawing at the back of your sheet! 🙂
oh WOW! The chocolate lace is gorgeous!
Miriam/The Winter Guest
It looks yummy as usual! Your interview’s very cute, I like all those hints on chocolates and things like that. I bookmarked http://www.swide.com , but hey, will you be doing a series of recipes for them or was it just one shot?
wow – that is just sensational 🙂
my little expat kitchen
This is so impressive, both the invitation by D&G for a sweet creation and the actual creation! Your lace looks simply amazing!
james in the kitchen
newyork times list, washington post and now the swide of dolce? you are an amazing talent!! it’s actually cool how that site changed though, i mean i checked for previous posts on the food section and its just restaurant reviews before your article…
is this a series or something? do you have any idea? i would love to contribute, i think its innovative… i have an idea for swide cookies! hahaha
keep up the good work mate
VERYYYYYY impressive! What a lot of pressure you must have felt making those! I mean, the brownie alone- taste, texture.. etc… but the design you put on top!!!
The lace is divine.
WOW! What stunning filigree work on these brownies. I am sure they loved the effort. So very pretty and I know they must have tasted fantastic. Well done!
I would list food and fashion as the things I am most passionate about, so this post was really wonderful to read! I loved how you incorporated the idea of layered transparency from AW’11 and also, Ive never seen a more beautiful and delicious looking brownie.
Modern Country Lady
You are a master! What a fabulous idea-too, too beautiful!!
Stunning! I stumbled across your blog about 2 weeks ago. Now it’s my drug.
Hi, I’m Spanish and my English is very homespun, I love your blog and I miss a translator.
That’s real haute couture… very creative and very much ‘YOU’:) Congrats!
Great Brownie and fabulous pictures of it. Thanks for sharing!
cenk,çok kötüsün.ben ingilizce bilmiyorum.yazıyı okuyamayınca çatladım.türkçe bloğada ekle lütfen.
I knew I should always visit the English version! This, you, what you do is worth…respect..
wow!!!!!!!!!that´s fantastic congratulations.
Thank you all for the nicest comments. Very much appreciated.
Betül – Thank you! It was just this one. Nothing more planned.
james in the kitchen – Thanks. I believe this is a new series for Swide. You might want to inquire at their website and let them know more about your idea.
sibel – Aksilik olmazsa yarına eklemiş olurum.
New York Muhtari
oh my… passion for fashion??? Very creative Cenk.. It almost feels like a crime to eat this amazing looking brownie or should we say work of art?? Kudos to you..
Creative idea, impressed! Just two proposals: 1.you could have re-melt the chocolate in the piping bag (after removing the metal top) – of course, depending on the material of the bag. 2.in order to bring a more oriental twist, i would have cut a paper copy of my mother’s hand-made lace and pour the chocolate in the gentle-opened holes of the copy. Hard work, but worth to try! Something similar could be found here: http://www.sugarveil.com/gallery/sugarveil_cakes/choco-cake_sm.jpg
Chocolate lace is a fantastic idea! Actually, for my birthday cake, I made a similar decoration, but I used rustic patterns instead: http://kitchenimpromptu.com/my-birthday-cake-with-coconut-butter-and-pineapple/
So now, I’m thinking about making lace chocolate topped cupcakes. Cute!
Thanks for the idea..
Amazing as usual :)) If we weren’t on a ‘diet’ I would simply try it this week (even would go perfect for a bday cake to us!)
A cake for D&G :)) You are really great!
(If I were selfish I would say be merciful to your Turkish readers, though I know how long they have been waiting for a single new recipe on English part of the blog here :)) )
sugarveil is original, too.
incredible as always
amazing recipe, just tested it! your interview is so much fun! did you get paid for this amazing masterpiece? its good for their publicity, after all its a rare thing to see exclusive content like this in digital magazine, they always talk about the same stuff… its refreshing to see editors who take time and effort to customize their content… ill check this swide thing deffo more often if you tell me you’ll do more recipes for them??
Süpersiniz, tebrik ederim…Bizleri yurtdışında iyi bir şekilde temsil ediyor olmanız çok gurur verici.. (kendimize pay çıkarmamıza kızmıyorsunuz umarım:))
Başarılarınızın devamını dilerim..
Stunning! The brownie by itself is gorgeous with the lovely cracks, which I love, but to then add the light brown hazelnut layer and the beautiful lace-like chocolate- you are incredibly creative. Bravo:)
This is really awesome!!! and the chocolate decoration looks like a fine cloth, like a crochet pattern. It really suits a famous D&G magazine.
This is incredible, and you, you are extremely talented. Wow.
Cook is Good
Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having
This is beautiful, and sounds delicious! I’d love to try this, but to be honest I think I’d end up cheating and using a stencil!
This is probably a rare occasion where I’m only interested in learning how to make that beautiful chocolate lace which you had done here! That is such a brilliant idea, esp. for D&G!
Thanks for posting!!!
I love that you used herringbone as your background. These are incredibly beautiful!
that is an incredible work of art! i never even knew hazelnut butter existed till now!
i am completely inspired (and in aw) by your chocolate lace. I’m going to have to try to make some… it will probably take me more than three tries though…
Fantastic, well done you.
Holy mole, that looks exquisite! Divine! I would totally wear that. LOL.
oh my goodness!! that is so cool!! i love D&G and the whole lacey thing goes well with their Italian/Siclian signature style! great job, congrats!
This is beautiful work,a veritable feast for the eyes. I have seen so many good ones but this one stole the show! Bravissimo!
You sure are artistic..wish I could do it so well
Cenk!!! you are my culinary hero!!! seriously, your ideas never cease to amaze me. I love the way you take pride in, not just taste, but presentation. Love, love, love this glamourous take on brownies 🙂
i admire your patience piping that beautiful creation. im a fan of jacques torres. your chocolate lace is just as good as his work. simple. elegant. seductive. you just captured the simplicity and elegance of D&G.
I love, love, love it!!!
These are beautiful! The lace creation is stunning!
Absolutely gorgeous! And I love the inspiration too.
OMG Can I marry those brownies?!?
The cake is divine and elegant to look at. Perfect dessert to serve at D&G.
This is beautiful Cenk. Nick would be proud!
These are the prettiest looking brownies I’ve seen in a long time! Awesome work on the chocolate lace – it looks exquisite – I’m sure D&G loved it.
merhabalar cenk bey..
sizi sessizce begenerek takib ediyorum..
ilk defa yaziyorum..
fikir olarak D&G icin kina boyamalari aklima geldi..
onlar da cok ince uclu tuplerden akitilarak yapiliyor..yanmaz kagidin altina deseni koyarak ustunden cikolatayi akitabilirsiniz..
(asagidaki link acilmaz ise google dan henna designs diye girerseniz de cikar)
Wow, that looks amazing! Way better than anything Pierre Hermé could do 🙂
Gina – Have you ever been to his shop? As much as I want to take that compliment, I don’t think it’s possible.
Delicious just by sight…The lace looks perfect.
Molly Drexelius - Drexelius Chocolates
Fantastic idea and work! I just posted how to drizzle chocolate like a pro. I’m sure I’ll have to try a few times to get mine to look as great as yours. Thanks for sharing 🙂
What a fabulous recipe. The result is so pretty and sounds delicious! I totally understand why they came to you for a recipe – D&G knew you’d come up with something that was just perfect!
I wish I could pop over and try a piece… will have to see if I can find hazelnut butter here in the Netherlands. And ofcourse, make sure I have a couple of hours to spare to get that chocolate lace right…
Well done, such a great job!
Congratulations from a greek food blogger-cooker-wanna be photographer fellow!
Excellent work, delicious recipes, amazing looking shots!
Keep (food) blogging!
P.S. I bookmarked you so as to “visit” you often!
Professionals fold cornets out of parchment paper and cut a very small hole at the tip to pipe fine details, The advantage being that try are very small so you can have many lined up and just microwave them if they get difficult to use.
I’m sure the internet can provide you with a resource on how to fold a cornet.
A mouth-watering recipe.These brownies are packed full of chocolately goodness. The ultimate treat for any chocolate lover.
Awesome! Congrats to succeed. I couldn’t decide what I’ll cook for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thinking about almost 2 weeks, actualy I need some professional guidance. Could you tell me what’s your Thanksgiving plan? or any advise? Thank you.
Christina – I live in Turkey and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, but the New Year’s Eve Dinner Party food is always similar, so you can take a look at those posts. Here’s the 2010 post and here’s the 2009 post. Enjoy.
It’s almost a crime to break up that beautiful topping.
I can almost feel the chocolate lace melting in my mouth as I take my first bite.
Mmmmmm, chocolate lace. [insert Homer Simpson drool effect here]
Looks divine, thanx for sharing.
Absolutely Gorgeous… wish i could be that good 🙂
love from Malta
visit my blog at la-roquette.blogspot.com
This is amazing news, Cenk! Congratulations! Beautiful brownies.
Patricia – Thank you!
Tracey – Thanks. I didn’t transfer the chocolate lace until I was satisfied with the result, so there was no need to bake the brownies again.
Great job! Question, did you scrap and remake the brownies after each lacing attempt, or were you able to salvage them and retry?
okay. i’m officially a fan.
Manu @ Chez Manu - Italian Home Cooking
FANTASTIC!!!!! They look so beautiful!!! I’d bet they taste great too!
Oh my soul what art!!! I cannot WAIT to pipe chocolate lace for my beloved. He loves brownies.
You are a wizard!!
I took one look at the chocolate lace you created and thought, I couldn’t do that. Thank you for posting the larger photo, which revealed that I probably can. Afterall the advanced cake decorating classes, I think so. It is really elegant looking. I’m going to try it. Thank you for the inspiration and idea.
This is amazing! So creative, so beautiful and yes, I want to try and taste them all 🙂 I heard that you are writing a book, this is great too! Good Luck! Greetings and Love from Istanbul
Michelle Benoit (ChocolateCentral)
I commented on this fabulous post in February and today discovered you are nominated for Saveur Best Food blog. I’m going to vote for you and follow you on Twitter. Well done!
Wow – fashion brownies!
I hate nuts in my brownies but I love the idea of a hazelnut sauce to go with them…. Thanks for the inspiration!
looks amazing!!! What can I use instead of Hazelnut spread?
Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)
Came over here through Saveur. And WOW. Off to check the rest of your blog out.
oyumu verdim, bir gun becerebilip de yapabilirsem bu sahane brownie’ yi fevkaledenin fevkinde olacak. Bol sans Cenk, sevgiler.
Dear Cenk! Congratulations on the award of Saveur magazine! I voted for your blog, of course! And to show how much you inspire me, here is a link to a dessert I made for Christmas 2010!
A big hug from a Brazilian, from Portugal,
Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday
Congrats on your recipe win in Saveur magazine!
Alcak gonnullu olmanda cok hos ama; sen yeni kesfedilen bir yemek dahisisin, you deserve it all…
Shima – 🙂 İltifatınız için çok teşekkür ederim ama dahi gibi kelimeler ancak Pierre Herme gibi ustalara yakışır.
Anna (Morsels & Musings)
i am in awe.
Stunning brownies and congrats on Saveur magazine. The top makes them look so delicate.
I am following your blog for 2 years and i love the way you present the recipes.I am glad that you are featured in the Magazine.
just wanted to say these brownies are gorgeous! i can’t believe you had the patience to do chocolate lace – it was definitely well worth it!
I wish I could make these. But I’m afraid I don’t have the skill
This looks like a fabulous recipe!
You are quite the artist! Your brownies look beautiful, and very worthy of appearing next to Dolce & Gabbana clothes. I would be totally lost, like you were at first, when asked to make something for them!
My favourite brownie recipe is from the book CHOCOLATE, by Nick Malgieri (all his recipes are to die for!), but you have now convinced me to try yours!
This is my best brownies recipe ever. Keep it up
I love your works! bye..
Hello there, that brownie looks amazing, even being diabetic, i will do an exception and cook it, will let you know, thanks for a great blog.
Way too pretty to eat! 🙂
Absolutely gorgeous! You’ve transformed a classic dessert into a work of art. Your talent and creativity are so inspiring! That delicate chocolate lace looks like something I would spend the whole day making, no matter how many failed attempts. The result is so worth the effort.
Your blog is amazing! So inspiring!!!! I am an italian photographer and I also have a food blog. Your photographic work is amazing! And the food…
Well done!!! This blog just make me feel good!! Thank you!
Beautiful brownies! I’m making them right now. One question: my brownies always tend to get a pretty thick crunchy crust and they are cakey on the sides and almost too fudgy in the middle. Do you know what I’m doing wrong? The baking temperature should be right.
Lisa – I think you’re baking them at a high temperature (or using a very dark pan). Try lowering it by 25-50 F.
i’m a little late to the party.
But i must say that this is absolutely amazing. i love the edge of your design… it’s naturally elegant. so beautiful. thank you for posting your recipe as well – they look so fudgy i’ll have to try this recipe. i’m bowing right now hahaha AWESOME JOB!
I tried the lace with tempered chocolate, pretty easy. In cool room temperature it set beautifully and very easy to peel off.
Never use a piping tip when pipe fine lines with chocolate, just cut the tip of your piping bag. A metal tip cools down the chocolate too quickly.
Absolutely BEAUTIFUL brownies, they are on the list to try when my sister visits. I do have a question, the knife in the picture, where can I find a set like that?
Kortne – That knife is a gift from a friend, who bought it in a rural village in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Unfortunately, it is not available online.
I tried this recipe and its perfect. I highly recomend this to anyone.
Best brownies ever !!!!! What initially caught my attention was the beautiful chocolate lace , then the mention of dolce and gabbana totally got me interested. I went ahead and made them. Oh!!!! Drooling. Love your recipe.it’s a beautiful bog to follow.thanks! !
i am wondering about baking powder etc. is the brownie cakey or chewy? i like the frosting but i need a large brownie recipe without frosting. can i get 16 pieces? thanks. ruby
ruby ewing – The brownie is fudgy, not cakey. You can skip the frosting and just bake as directed, which will give you 12 identical squares. You can cut the pieces smaller to get 24 pieces.