“Brownies are great, but brownies with blueberries are even better,” said everyone ever. The same goes for shades of blue: Carolina blue is nice, Duke blue is better, and International Klein Blue is the best, right? Well, I doubt many NCAA basketball fans will agree with me (especially those of you from North Carolina), but allow me to make my case: Born to artist parents who were members of the Parisian Abstract movement, Yves Klein was a member of the French New Realism movement, and enjoyed much success during his short career (he died very young, at the age of 34). A pioneer in marketing himself, Klein was most well known as a conceptual and performance artist, and was constantly pushing the envelope and challenging attitudes towards art. Working primarily during the 1950s and 1960s, Klein craved attention, and loved being in front of cameras—which worked out perfectly, considering that this was a time when television had become the main means of mass communication for the average American household.
Klein’s attitude towards art revolved around the act of making art, which he actually favored over the finished product. At his core, Klein was a performance artist, but he also created many works in paint on canvas, primarily in a monochromatic color palette. By the mid-1950s, he was working primarily in blue, in particular International Klein Blue, an ultramarine hue that Klein created with French chemists. International Klein Blue is so vivid that it really closely resembles lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone used to make blue paint during the Renaissance. To say that Yves Klein was obsessed with this shade of blue was an understatement. At the beginning of 1957, Klein held an entire show made up of canvas painted with the iconic blue shade. Next, he turned the success of the color into performance art—he covered nude models in his blue paint and had them roll and bounce on walls of white canvas.
While I can’t promise that these brownies will give you the same artistic vision, I do think that the juicy blueberries and dense chocolate flavor will give you the same intense energy that Klein’s works evoke. You have no excuse not to make these easy brownies tonight; blueberry season is finally in full swing, and let’s face it, it’s Monday—you need something to help wean you off the weekend.
Yves Klein Coconut Blueberry Brownies
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa powder
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ cup coconut flour
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8 x 8 in. square pan. In a small saucepan, heat the butter on low heat until completely melted and starting to brown. Turn off the heat and stir in ½ c. blueberries and the mini chocolate chips. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until combined. Stir in the flaked coconut and vanilla and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, cocoa powder, baking powder and flours. When the chocolate/butter/blueberry mixture is cool enough, add to the egg mixture, and then slowly stir in the dry mixture. Be careful to only mix until combined; it’s ok to see a bit of unmixed flour. Pour and smooth into the greased pan, and stick in the oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick stuck through the middle comes out clean. Let cool for as long as you can handle it—at least 20 minutes! Slice into 16 squares and enjoy!
Recipe inspired by i am baker, makes 16
Featured art: Yves Klein, IKB (International Klein Blue), 1962
Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’Époque bleu, 1962