Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Batch of Chewy Chocolate Brownies for Maddie

My big sister Maddie and I have quite a lot in common. One of the most important similarities (which I'm sure she would agree) is that we both LOVE chocolate, and make no secret of it! Usually when we have a family meal at a restaurant and everyone else is stuffed, Maddie and I always channel our inner ability of "second special chocolate stomach" to conquer a third course. They're usually very rich and we'll feel rather podge afterwards, but we'll both agree that it is WORTH IT! As I am doing a little dedication bake for all of my favourite people, I must include my 6 siblings. Yes, six. Relax, we aren't all from the same mum! Maddie is one of my eldest siblings, and although there's an age gap between us, we're still really close and I love her to bits. Maddie's favourite baked treat is a chocolate brownie, so here's the recipe:

You'll need to preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4!

Ingredients (Makes 16 small brownies, or 9 slightly bigger ones):
  • 250g/9oz Unsalted butter (or lurpak "Slightly Salted" will do! As I always say, a bit of salt will aid the rise!)
  • 200g/7oz of AT LEAST 70% dark chocolate, chopped. Make sure you buy top quality, I like Green & Black's the most.
  • 150g/5.5oz of chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecan nuts (I always love to put nuts in my brownies, don't know about you, so you can leave this out if you like)
  • 80g/2.75oz Cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 65g/2.25oz Plain flour
  • 350g/12.5oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 good plop of vanilla essence
  • 4 Large Organic Eggs (Organic are always bigger, and they're from healthier hens!)
  • 30cm/12" Square baking tin
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Medium mixing bowl x2
  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve
  • Little jug
  • Silicone spatula
  • Knife
  • Whisk
This recipe is a variation of Jamie Oliver's recipe from his book Cook with Jamie. This is such a quick and easy recipe, and it makes such delicious brownies!

In your bowl over your saucepan of simmering water (simmering should look like the bubbles in your champagne) melt the butter and the chocolate together (Bain-Marie), stirring constantly until it's melted. Take it off immediately when you've melted it, as you don't want to separate the chocolate. If you're adding the nuts, do so now, and gently mix them in until well dispersed. In your other mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder) and then sift them over the top of your chocolate and nuts. We mix it all beforehand so that we can get an even distribution of the dry ingredients in the batter. Now we fold it all together. By now, you'll probably remember to fold lovingly ;) Make sure you mix it well so it's completely combined. You should get a thick consistency. Now in your little jug with your whisk, beat those eggs! When you add the eggs, remember to add a little bit at a time and whisk/beat after every addition until smooth. When you've added all the eggs, you should have a very silky consistency. Bam!

Line your baking tin with the greaseproof paper, and then dollop all of the mixture in, making sure you get all the last bits out with the spatula (unless someone's around to lick the bowl!). It should spread and level out itself, but give it a little jiggle to encourage it to the edges of the pan. Make sure it does reach the edges!! Pop them in the oven now for around 25/35 minutes. The trick is that you don't want to overcook them. Remember the clean skewer trick? Big no-no for brownies! It needs to come out covered in brown residue (I know what you're thinking, you dirty mind! Ha!). When you take the brownies out, they should be springy on the outside and still very gooey in the middle, you may even think they're raw, but trust me! Let them cool in the tray completely before taking them out and then put them in the fridge, they will solidify in there as they come out very very gooey. After cooling, it's time to cut them. Do NOT cut them in the tin, you'll scratch the non-stick covering and ruin it! Instead, separate the edges of the brownie from the tin and do the old fliparoo (place a chopping board on the top of the tin, holding it with one hand on the top, and the other on the bottom, then flip it over. Tap the bottom of the tin and the brownies should dislodge themselves.) Cut them evenly into squares, any knife will do as they're easy to cut.

You can heat them up after cutting and enjoy them warm with vanilla ice-cream, but I prefer them cold!

To die for! :D

I hope this recipe has satisfied the chocolate monster within you, it certainly quashes the devil within Maddie and I!

x x x

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