“In an age where delicate aromas, subtle flavors, and microwave ovens do not easily coexist, the job of the flavorist is to conjure illusions about processed food and…to ensure ‘customer likeability’.”
Have you ever wondered what makes all those junk foods in the snack aisle taste so delicious? You know the ones: creamy Twinkies, the satisfying chocolaty crunch of a Nutter-Butter, and that slow sinking of the teeth into those perfectly moist Little Debbies?
The answer is the intricate chemistry of flavoring.
Eric Schlosser, author of the popular 2001 book Fast Food Nation, took up visiting some of the top flavoring plants. Upon his visit Schlosser learned that the majority of the flavors society enjoys from food are not from the actual food in the ingredients, but from chemically made flavors. These flavors are made to appeal not only to taste, but to scent as well. Schlosser explains that our taste buds have limited means of detection and it is really our olfactory system that “can perceive thousands of different chemical aromas.” He continues this by defining flavor as “the smell of gases being released from the chemicals being put in your mouth” (23).
These chemical aromas are rather prevalent in processed food, better known as junk-food. Jill McCorkle is a big advocate for the flavor of junk-food. In her essay “Her Chee-to Heart” she describes herself as a junk-food-junkie and uses the majority of her essay to explain just how much she craves and worships junk-food—especially Hostess Snoballs.
I can relate to this chemical aroma addiction as well. I’m surprised my own junk-food-junkie self hasn’t shot chocolate up my veins yet because, and this is serious business, I have a deep, intimate love affair with chocolate. My love for junk food could also be an oral fixation, like McCorkle, although I have never been a cigarette smoker and most of my junk-food excursions go hand-in-hand with my Netflix binging.
While McCorkle loves her Hostess Snoballs and Schlosser his flavors, my obsession lies with those little moist brownies from out of this world, otherwise known as Cosmic Brownies. The processed flavoring in these is like a drug to me. Seriously, who doesn’t love that dense chocolaty texture? Cosmic brownies may be the one good that beats its batter. (Sorry McCorkle).
However, because of my shared love for the vanilla, coconut of Hostess Snoballs and my obsession with Cosmic Brownies, I decided to combine the two.
So I present: Cosmic Snoballs, adapted from Natalie’s Life Made Simple blog.
1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
¾ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted
3 tbsp whole milk
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache Portion (Fudge layer)-
1 c. semi-sweet choc. chips
½ c. milk choc. chips
½ c. heavy cream
Vanilla Coconut (Snoball) Topping-
1 16oz can vanilla frosting
1 7oz jar marshmallow cream
3 cups (about 1 bag) sweetened, flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 in. baking pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, blend melted butter, sugars, and vanilla until somewhat fluffy. Add eggs and blend until incorporated.
In a medium bowl whisk all dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add milk. Mix until it is combined.
Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Note: Brownies will be dense, so be sure to not overcook or they will be dry!
Remove from oven when done and allow them to cool on a baking rack.
While the brownies cool, in a small bowl combine chocolate chips and heavy cream. Put in the microwave for 1 minute; stir until blended and smooth.
When brownies are cool, add layer of ganache to the top; allow to cool. While ganache is cooling, combine vanilla frosting and marshmallow cream in a large bowl until blended. Once ganache is cooled (it will be semi-hard when touched) use a rubber spatula to add vanilla marshmallow topping. Finish by dispersing coconut on top until covered.
Serve warm or cold.
––By Destiny Sims
Tags: Coconut, Brownie, Desserts, Junk Food, Marshmallow Crème, Baking, Flavor, Chocolate