Our wood-burning stove – stufa in Italy – earned some huge ‘brownie points’ yesterday when I made a popular camping dessert right here in my living room. Brownies baked in an orange shell – where have these lovelies been all my life? To think of the countless beach fires back in Hawaii…sigh. It makes me sick to realize that campfire orange brownies should’ve been right there on the menu with the s’mores!
Of course you can make life easier by using store-bought brownie mix, but I’ll share my recipe that makes enough batter for 4 extra-large oranges or 6 normal-sized ones.
Recipe (makes 4)
4 very large oranges (mine were approximately 10 ounces each)
2.5 ounces (5 tablespoons) melted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
5/8 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 plus 1/8 cup measurements if you don’t have 5/8th)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
a pinch of baking powder
Combine melted butter and both sugars in a bowl. Add egg and mix well. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir just to combine – do not overmix.
Slice 1/2-inch off the tops of the oranges and carefully scoop insides out into a bowl. Take care to remove as much of the pulp and juice as possible otherwise the brownies will end up soggy and wet. I used the back of a spoon to press out the juices.
Divide brownie batter equally between the oranges, filling them half way. Place each orange on a double layer of aluminum foil large enough to enclose it. Bring the corners together and scrunch to seal (see first photo). Place oranges next to the embers and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, checking them after 20 minutes to see how they’re doing. Baking time will vary depending on the quantity and heat of the coals.
Twenty minutes to half an hour should do the trick for large oranges. I’ve made these twice in the wood oven and baking times were different on both occasions. In a kitchen oven (gas), the brownies took 50 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when tops are baked but the insides slightly runny underneath when doing a toothpick test. You might get a couple of exploded ones! Remove from the fire and serve with your ice cream of choice, caramel sauce optional.