How many versions of brownies are there? Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds is my guess. Nuts, no nuts, flour, gluten free, dark, milk, fruit, you name it, somewhere there will be a recipe. I am pretty dull and stick rather boringly to what I know works, and so strangely I rarely deviate from my time old favorite recipe. But, every now and again I lack the correct ingredients and choose to ‘wing it’ on what is in the larder and just occasionally it works. And a bit like those genius’ at Apple who keep telling me there is a new version of itunes for my underused ipad, which hence needs updating, my old favorite brownie recipe now needs to be updated too. The outcome of this particular lottery in the larder created something quite sublime, certainly worth sharing with chocolate lovers the world over. Put it like this, if you have given up chocolate for lent, this should be your reward. You won’t be disappointed.
The latest version, is seriously good, and I would argue better than version 1, my original Chocolate Brownies I talked about last June. Intense and unforgiving, the new edition are dead naughty, they should be for grown ups only. Dotted with white chocolate and laced with a little Maldon sea salt they are pretty irresistible. There should be a health warning on them. Of course the ‘little people’ are spitting, but you know me – I could never deprive them completely and hence they have lucked out too, as with some left over mix they got ‘mini me’ cup cake size mouthfuls. I will have a box waiting my most devout friends for the chocolate festival that will start in just under 2 weeks time, but for those who have not been tied to Lent, do give these a whirl.
The technical bit. And I can’t believe there really has to be one as I am not a hugely technical cook but this recipe works for me if you follow these points. Please use a tin measuring 20cm x 30cm. I used Menier Swiss Dark Chocolate with 70% cocoa and Menier Swiss White Chocolate, but as long as you match the cocoa %, I am sure any brand will work. I use free range, organic, large eggs, and when they are beaten with the sugar I literally leave the kenwood beating on full speed for about 10 minutes. Being brave with the oven and cooking time is an art and cooking times will of course vary. Brownies will carry on cooking once removed from the oven, so trust your instinct and pull them out as soon as you think they are there, overcooked brownies make me cry! And lastly if you want to hype up the Easter aspect to all this chocolate, check out this charming cupcake set by ‘Meri Meri’, they have the most enchanting selection of Easter paraphernalia I have ever seen. I bought this set in Waitrose but you can buy online as well; http://www.shopmerimeri.co.uk
Version 2 – Chocolate Brownies with White Chocolate and sea salt
200 gms of good quality dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids)
100gms of good quality white chocolate broken roughly into button size bits
200gms of butter
3 organic, free range eggs
125gms of golden demerara sugar
125gms of caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt
75gms of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1. Set the oven to 170 and line a tin (measuring approx 20cm x 30cm) with bakewell paper.
2. Put the 3 eggs, sugar, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence in a Kenwood or other beating appliance and beat very fast for a good 10 minutes. You should have a wonderful thick, creamy, frothy mix!
3. Meanwhile melt the butter and dark chocolate together – I cheat and pop it in the microwave which is probably a dreadful crime, most serious chefs would advise melting it in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water, either way – melt both together and mix so they are incorporated well. Stir frequently.
4. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, add to the egg and sugar mixture folding in with a large metal spoon, now fold in the broken up white chocolate, and then the flour. Pour into the rectangular tin and bake for 15 minutes – check it – it should be slightly risen and have a glossy sheen across the crust and just beginning to crack, if not leave for another 5 minutes. It will carry on cooking once removed from the oven. It should be slightly risen and just set.
5. Remove and leave to cool completely before peeling off the baking parchment and devouring fast!