As most of you know, I’ve been putting our kitchen in Aix through its paces since arrival. I’ve always loved food and cooking and relish the time I have to play in the kitchen. I’ve also been toying with the idea of adding some of my favorite recipes to this blog – why not share some of the more inspired recipes? Easy enough to do and fun to share these things with friends. So, without further ado.
Here’s a brownie recipe that I made for a casual dinner with some friends last Friday. It is my adaptation of a recipe found in Ottolenghi’s wonderful book, “The Cookbook”. These brownies are simple, seem to be popular with all and have a surprise ingredient that separates them from “just your average brownie”. Ottelenghi says this recipe is for 8-10 brownies, but I found them so rich that I could easily make 16-20 fulfilling portions.
25g butter, plus some melted for coating baking tray
75g caster sugar
200g butter, plus some melted for baking pans
280g plain flour (sifted)
½ tsp salt
300g best-you-can-find dark chocolate, broken into pieces
220g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Make the toffee.
1) Lightly brush a cookie sheet/oven tray with melted butter.
2) Put the butter and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with a heat resistant spoon until the mixture turns a dark caramel color. If it separates, stir vigorously to reincorporate.
3) Carefully pour the toffee onto the greased cookie sheet and set aside for it to set.
Make the brownies.
Either use a 22cm square pan, a couple of loaf pans (what I used) or a special brownie pan. Just make sure the pan/s are roughly the same surface area as a 22cm square tin. As with the cookie sheet/oven tray, grease with melted butter. Also add parchment paper to line bottom/sides of the brownie pan/s. Preheat oven to 170C/340F.
1) Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
2) Put the butter and chocolate in heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan with simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Leave to melt, stirring on occasion. As soon as the butter and chocolate have melted, remove the bowl from the water. Do not let the mixture get too hot!
3) In a large bowl, lightly whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla. Work them until just combined, just a few seconds. Fold in the melted chocolate and then the sifted flour/salt.
4) Break the toffee into small pieces and then fold them in as well.
5) Spoon the mixture into prepared pan/s.
6) Place on center shelf and bake for roughly 25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes and do skewer test. It should be covered with some gooey crumbs. Be careful not to over-bake. These are dense, fudgy brownies and slightly under-cooking is much better than over doing it. You can’t hide an over-baked brownie, but you can put a slightly under-baked one in the fridge to set it and still enjoy.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of these yummy delectables because they quickly got consumed as soon as they cooled. But if you close your eyes and imagine a dense, fudge-like piece of chocolate cake with wonderful bits of crunchy, caramelized toffee-goodness you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about here. Is your mouth watering yet?
If you bake these, let me know what you think!