There something about traveling that just hits the spot when life begins to feel like a repetitive cycle of work, sleep, repeat. Traveling forces a breaking of the routine and keeps the mind engaged in not getting lost going somewhere less or totally unfamiliar, about finding where your next meal will come from, and making sure that the effort put into actually taking the time to travel yields new and exciting experiences. What’s the fun in going to somewhere over and over again only to do the same things?
At the end of February I headed east on I-26 to a place I’ve been many times, but this go round was for a different reason- Brewvival! It’s a big outdoor beer festival held at the end of every February at COAST Brewing in North Charleston. I’ve heard from many friends that it’s THE best beer festival of the year, and this is coming from some seasoned drinkers, the kind who travel hundreds of miles for beer festivals.
I was there to work, pouring beers for a few hours and it was set to be a fantastic weekend full of new beers and amazing Charleston food, and just a weekend out of same ole Columbia. But I was sick with a nasty sinus infection and on day two of antibiotics when I drove down. That wasn’t stopping me though, as I had splurged on a hotel room instead of trying to sleep on someone’s couch for two nights, something my back and well, my whole body really, isn’t a fan of doing. Despite the sniffling and hoarseness, I went on and poured beers at the festival for a few hours before the cold overcame me and I just couldn’t stick it out anymore.
Before I left though, I really wanted to grab something from one of the food trucks at the festival. Some of the ones I’ve only followed on social media were there, like Auto-Bahn, and Diggity Doughnuts! I stood in line for 30 minutes to get some of those sweet vegan doughnuts that I’ve heard so much about, and ended up choosing a chocolate frosted with crushed potato chips, and a strawberry-jalepeno one.
The chocolate and potato chip one got consumed in the car, sticky brown frosting smudged on my face from the sheer size of these doughnuts. These big boys are not playing around. And despite their size, they aren’t heavy and dense liked vegan baked goods of the 90s. If you like the sweet and salty combination of salted potatoes and chocolate, you’ll like this one (dip fries in your Frosty? Enjoy those chocolate covered potato chips from Trader Joe’s? Yep, that’s what I thought).
The strawberry jalapeno hung out in the fridge in my hotel room until later that evening when it was consumed in bed after a long medication induced nap. But the chocolate and potato chip one, that one really stuck with me and I thought about ways to recreate it that didn’t involve buying a doughnut pan. A chocolate frosted bundt cake with crushed chips? Fudge? No, brownies. Frosted brownies with delicious crushed pieces of potato chips sprinkled on top.
I used this recipe from Taste of Home and added some chocolate chips for extra gooeyness inside, and did some work on the frosting recipe. Actually, I ended up with enough frosting to do about seven more pans of brownies so in this recipe I scaled it back by half, as well as thinned it out with extra milk to make it a bit more spreadable and sticky so that the potato chip pieces are sure to cling to it and not just fall into the floor.
Potato Chip Dusted Frosted Brownies
Modified from Taste of Home
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup baking cocoa
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup baking cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk (pour in a little at a time until the consistency is like hummus or to your liking)
- 2-3 handfuls Original Cape Cod potato chips, crushed
- In a microwave safe dish, zap the butter for 20 seconds, then 10 more seconds until softened but not melted completely. Stir in cocoa and let it cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar until blended. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in vanilla and the cooled chocolate mixture until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Spread into a greased 13 x 9″ baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until the frosting achieves spreading consistency. Spread over brownies. Cut into bars.
- Right before serving, gently crush potato chips in a quart sized Ziploc bag until the pieces are small and uniform, sprinkle liberally on top of brownies. Like potato chips do, they stale quickly when exposed to air, so only add chips before serving because they will not keep well.
Since these bad boys are obviously not healthy and shouldn’t be consumed only by two people, I took the pan over to hang out with friends for a not-in-Five-Points-St.-Pat’s-Day get together. But I still might have had a few fancy cocktails like this Moscow Mule.