Saturday, 5 June 2010

Chocolate Brownies in all their gooey goodness!

Brownie recipes have, for me at least, always been in some way disappointing. Im a bit particular with food and, if Im making something, I wont bother remaking it unless its going to be MY favourite version of that particular thing. Now, its not to say that what I like is to everyones tastes - far from it Im sure - but these, if made correctly, will hopefully hit the spot for those of you in pursuit of a beautiful chocolate thing.

They are quick and simple and Im confident and even an unsure bachelor with his take out utensils could whisk these up and wow the socks off a lady. If he had a small enough roasting tin and some greaseproof that it...

This recipe, as with all of my recipes, is a little bit of a work in progress - so please let me know how you get on with it.

Here's what you'll need.

100g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate - min 70% cocoa solids - yes it DOES make a difference!
180g lightly salted butter - if using unsalted just pop 1/2tsp of salt in with the flour
300g castor sugar (I feel golden castor sugar offers a better flavour)
150g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
3 large eggs (if using smaller eggs add one extra yolk, but not the white)

Preheat your oven to 180deg C or 165 if its a fan oven.

Chop all of your chocolate as finely as you have the time to - the smaller the better - if you have a food processor, bang it in there. Put the chopped chocolate into a large mixing bowl.

Melt your butter in the microwave in a glass dish, stirring every 20seconds, until it starts to bubble a bit. I needs to be really hot, without fully boiling. Stir again and pop back in for 10 seconds.

Pour the hot butter over the chocolate and allow it to stand for 20 secs or so to start to melt the chocolate. Then, with a wooden or plastic spoon, stir slowly until all of the chocolate is melted. The reason you dont use a metal spoon is that metal is generally cooler than room temperature and will cool the mixture it comes into contact with - you want this mixture to star as warm as possible to melt all of the chocolate.

If all of the chocolate isnt melted after three or four minutes of stirring (it should take less time that than even) pop the bowl in the microwave to ten seconds and stir well again. Next time just remember to either chop the chocolate finer, or have hotter butter!

Stir in your castor sugar. Golden (or unrefined) castor sugar has a more caramel flavour and a less super sweet flavour, and is generally my preference in baking. Its often also cheaper. Well worth using if you can find it easily enough.

Your mixture should look like this - dont over work it!

Now add you cocoa, flour and salt (if necessary).

Stir until its just pulling together to for a chocolatey dough.

Beat three large eggs until combined in a small jug or bowl.

Pour the eggs over the mix and stir with your plastic or wooden spoon until smooth.

Make sure you aren't leaving any thicker mix on the bottom of the bowl...

Pour into a 20x20cm baking tin lined with greaseproof paper. Don't go any smaller that this tin, but I think you could go a little bigger if you needed, probably even as big as a 30x20 tray although then remember to slightly reduce your cooking time!

Bake for 25 mins. When poked with a knife the knife should come out sticky, but not covered in raw mixture. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin until you can handle it safely. I cut mine in the tin, but I suppose this is purely a matter of preference! Make 8 large triangles or 16 more modest ones... sprinkle with icing sugar if that really takes your fancy...

This batch kept well on the counter under a glass cake stand for three whole days - although Im sure if I'd been home a little less they would have been just fine for a few days longer!

Great as they are with tea, or warmed slightly with a scoop of good quality vanilla iced cream.

***handy hints*** (1) I have been known to run out of greaseproof paper... a normal sheet of white printer paper rubbed down on both sides with a little soft butter has worked a charm for me, more than once. Dont make them without some sort of lining - you dont want them to crisp at the bottom at all! (2) No Microwave? Melt your butter on the stove and pour over the chocolate, or melt the butter and chocolate together over a pot of simmering water, taking care not to allow the mixing bowl to touch the water. Works best in a metal or glass bowl - not to be tried with plastic. If you bowl doesnt sit well in the pot pop your sieve onto the pot first... Bain Marie alla Africa style...
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