Very Good Chocolate Brownies

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Again this is from my old site. Do you mind my sharing old recipes? P.S. I’ve decided to rewrite the introduction, just because I can.

I’ve been looking for the ultimate brownie recipe for quite some time, the first time I’ve ever made brownies was at school aged ten, although we had to use packet mixes then. I am ashamed…… 😦 Anyway, sixteen years later I found it, at f**king last! It took a lot of research on my part, probably one of the reasons I got as fat as I did. I tried a recipe that called for beating eggs and sugar until foamy and mousse like before adding everything else. (Why bother?) I’ve also tried one that called for the addition of mashed banana. Then finally, a success.

The answer came from the sublime Nigel Slater. His description of them, “as dense and fudgy as Glastonbury Festival mud”, was what drew me to them. I like fudgy, and I like dense, whether they are similar to festival mud I do not know, as I have never been. Perhaps one day.

Nigel says you can add whatever you like to these. My personal favourite is chunks of good white chocolate; I’ve also swirled in peanut butter (which was good, I’m quite tempted to try it with almond butter) and also a version with caramel chocolates chopped up, which still needs work. Perhaps next time I might do a version with walnuts and dark chocolate chunks. Maybe.

Very Good Chocolate Brownies

If you like your brownies gooey, wait for an hour before serving. If, like me, you like them fudgy, allow to get completely cold before cutting.

200g good dark chocolate, chopped roughly
250g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
3 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (freeze the leftover egg-white, you can use it with sugar to glaze a fruit pie)
60g plain flour
60g good cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
100g good chocolate, chopped into gravel-sized pieces, or a packet of good chocolate chips
icing sugar, to dust over

1. Preheat your oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Line a 23cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, by which I mean, you pour a little water into a pan, get it come to a gentle simmer and place the bowl of chopped chocolate over the pan, you don’t want the base of the bowl to touch the water. Or alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in 30 second blasts in the microwave. Once completely melted, remove from the heat immediately.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, almost white. You can do this in a stand mixer, or by hand to build up your biceps. Beat in the eggs gradually, Nigel says to beat them in a bowl and add in gradually. But I can’t be bothered with that shit, so I add them in one at a time. It is best to lower the speed when you put in the egg for a few seconds, then put it back on a higher speed to beat it in.

3. Meanwhile, you sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the dry ingredients using a large metal spoon. Then you fold in the melted chocolate, and the chopped chocolate, I tend to move to a spatula for this bit.

4. Scrape the brownie mixture into your prepared tin, smooth it out and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Trust me. Remove from the oven, and dust with icing sugar straightaway. Leave to cool in the tin. Serve alongside good vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce if warm, or with coffee and tea if cold.

Since making the batch in the above photograph, I made them when my older brother and sister in law, Ross and Danielle, came down for a couple of days. Danielle told me that she now expects them whenever they come and visit.

(Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005)

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