Brownie Heaven

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Those who know me will know that I am a junk food lover with an extreme sweet tooth. All that savoury malarkey goes out the window with me, because I'd choose a chocolate bar over a packet of salt and vinegar any day of the week. One of my guilty pleasures is chocolate brownies, and after a thorough taste trial in supermarkets and coffee shops, home-made ones win every time. I'm not going to lie, I do use a recipe off the internet like any normal person, and I am by no means passing these off as my own, but there is a small amount of skill required. If you're a Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood fan like I am, then you'll understand how a brownie can go from gooey and squidgy to spongy and cake-like in a matter of minutes, which is never a good thing. So, with a watchful eye and the right ingredients, you to can follow my steps to make a mouth watering batch of brownies.

170g butter
330g sugar
3 eggs
85g self raising flour 
50g cocoa powder

There are alternatives to these ingredients, however I would recommend sticking with what's above. The recipe actually says to use 85g of all purpose flour and 1tsp of baking powder but does gives a substitute of self raising flour instead which I've listed above. Self raising flour is a much easier ingredient simply because it's bound to be tucked away in the back of a kitchen cupboard somewhere. Having previously replaced cocoa powder for drinking chocolate after I ran out, I would highly recommend sticking to cocoa as the chocolate powder is too sweet. Although cocoa powder is very bitter, it's soon sweetened up by the heart attack amount of sugar the recipe requires.

Preheat your oven to 350 deg F, gas mark 4 or 180 deg C
Line a square or rectangle baking tin with butter and sprinkle with flour (it doesn't really matter on the size, use your common sense to know how big it has to be)
Beat the sugar and eggs until smooth
Add the flour, cocoa and melted butter and mix until smooth
Pour into the lined tin and pop into the oven.

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Serves: approx 9 

I struggled a little bit with the cooking time which I imagine is a result of having an oven which is very old and very slow. The website says 20-30 minutes but mine ended up taking 50 minutes. I'd recommend setting an initial timer for 20 minutes and then checking every 5 minutes after that. You don't want your brownies to overcook and turn into cake because quite frankly, there's nothing more disappointing. An easy way to check whether they're cooked to perfection is to lightly poke the top; if it bounces back then it's ready. Similarly, stick a knife or cocktail stick into the brownie, and if the remains are liquid, it's a good indicator that they need a little longer.

When you're happy that your brownies have cooked, take them out and let them cool for at least 20 minutes. Use a palette knife to remove them from the baking tin, place them on a plate and allow to cool for a further 5/10 minutes. You can either dust them with icing sugar, top them with melted chocolate or simply serve with vanilla ice cream - the choice is yours. This really is a very quick, easy and simple recipe that you can make with the contents of your kitchen cupboard.

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