Chocolate Brownies

Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Over the years I’ve tried many different brownie recipes but this is the one that works for me every time. Of course, you can substitute the sugar with an alternative, ie Stevia, or use half and half. Use white or milk chocolate, and even swap the choc chips with milk or white or mix all three – whatever takes your fancy.  Or replace some of the flour with ground almonds. Don’t be afraid to experiment – that’s part of the fun of cooking and baking. I often add in chopped dates too.

The secret with brownies is not to let them cook for too long unless you don’t like them squidgy, and to make sure you use a deep enough pan for cooking. For the amount of ingredients listed here I use a 20×20 cm (8 inch) square tin that’s approx 3 cm deep, lined with a paper cake liner.

INGREDIENTS

185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
100g block chocolate or choc chips in any combination you like – dark, white or milk or even Caramac!)
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar (or sugar substitute, ie Stevia; or half and half)
Optional additions: dates/nuts

METHOD

  • Line a square tin with non-stick greaseproof paper, then put it to one side.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and tip into a heatproof bowl, together with the dark chocolate, broken into pieces.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate over an improvised bain-marie (bowl fitted into a saucepan of hot water) using a low heat, stirring occasionally OR place bowl in microwave and blast in short bursts until melted, stirring in between. BE CAREFUL not to overheat else chocolate will granulize.
  • Once melted and mixed, remove the bowl and leave the melted mixture to cool down to room temperature.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (170°C fan oven, 350°F, Gas 4).
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into another bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate block into rough squares if using.
  • If you have a food processor, crack the eggs into the bowl and add the caster sugar, then whisk until the mixture is thick and creamy – like milkshake. If using a hand-held whisk, set it to maximum – it can take up to 8 minutes with a hand-held electric whisk. The ‘mousse’ will double in size and become pale in colour.
  • Pour the cooled melted chocolate and butter into the mousse and fold them together gently. Do not stir vigorously; it should be a gentle, loving process with absolute and total respect for the chocolate – you are looking to get air into the mixture as the colour turns to a mottled dark brown.
  • Sieve in the cocoa and flour mixture and fold in – it will become more of a fudge-like mixture – then add the chopped chocolate/chocolate chips and any optionals.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake on middle shelf in the oven for 20 minutes. Check the brownie by taking the tray out and giving it a gentle ‘wobble’. If the mixture wobbles in the middle, pop it back in for a further 5 minutes or so. You are aiming for a ‘paper-like’ top and the edges coming away slightly from the sides of the tin.
  • Leave to cool down – ideally, under lock and key – then cut into squares.

The brownies should keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

 

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