Chocolate Brownies. Possibly the most perfect of all the ways to indulge in Theobroma Cacao. The chocolate hit in a well made brownie is so strong it can feel like you’ve just downed three double espressos in less than 10 seconds flat.
And there’s the non-prep side of things. It takes no time at all to whip up a batch of brownies and even less time to devour them. The only difficult part is melting the chocolate and if you have a microwave then you even remove the double boiler element.
Of course, there is a down side to such a simply wonderful cake. Brownies don’t really look like much other than brown, heavy, stodgy bits of brick. But think again! There lies within a simple, evil genius. People unfamiliar with the Brownie may overlook it once, but once bitten, never again shy.
I baked my first batch of chocolate brownies a few years ago, using a Tamasin Day-Lewis recipe from her Good Tempered Food and found them to be completely and utterly darkly delicious. They are as chocolatey as you could ever imagine, fudgy and dense. I don’t bake them too often though because any good Brownie recipe hinges on using excellent quality chocolate and I covet my expensive chocolate as though it were an internal organ.
The characteristics of the brownie, whether it’s chocolate or otherwise (blondies also exist and are just as yummy) is that moist, almost undercooked middle that takes very little time to get used to. This is where I often have problems. Many of my brownies are under or over cooked but I adore that squidgy middle so much that I have strong reservations about leaving them in the oven for the stated time in the recipe.
The recipe I have used here is from Sara Jayne Paines – Chocolate The Definitive Guide and is, as the name suggests, rich and fudgy. However, if you are making a lot of Brownies for a large crowd, I would also refer you to the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook‘s Outrageous Brownies recipe which is truly superlative (if bank busting).
CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES – makes about 10-15 depending on how small you cut your squares
400g Good Quality Dark Chocolate, at least 65%, chopped finely
300g Unsalted Butter, diced
400g Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
55g Plain Flour mixed with pinch salt and
2 tsp Baking Powder
285g Pecan Nuts, lightly toasted
8″ x 11.5″ x 2″ tin, floured and buttered
Preheat oven to 160c.
Melt together the butter and chocolate either in a double boiler (this amount takes a long time) or in the microwave.
Meanwhile, whisk lightly together the eggs, vanilla and sugar.
Pour the melted chocolate/butter over the whisked eggs/sugar/vanilla and combine well.
Sift in the flour/baking powder/salt and fold into the mixture.
Finally, fold in the nuts.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into squares.