Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Bitter sweet symphony

One could rarely complain about eating a brownie. A mixture of chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar, it would be pretty difficult to go wrong. I've munched on a few of late, and have never been disappointed, but find them most satisfying when the rich, gooey indulgence of it all is balanced by bitter notes from proper dark chocolate.

I've been meaning to try out this recipe for St John's Brownies at home for a while now... I've made it, and the Rochelle Canteen variation a few times in catering volumes, but wanted to give it a road test in domestic conditions.

After having knocked a batch up yesterday evening, I left a tray full in the fridge to cool over night. Judging by the fact that half of it had been schnaffled by my housemate by the time I returned, I think it's fair to say the recipe was a success.

Dark chocolate brownies

Makes a 20 x 30cm tray full
200g dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa)
200g unsalted butter
3 eggs
250g sugar
50g flour
50g cocoa
100g hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C, and grease and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave. Leave to cool slightly.

Mix the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, using either an electric whisk, or a lot of elbow grease, until pale, smooth and doubled in volume. Fold in the chocolate / butter mixture. Sift in the flour and cocoa, add the hazelnuts, and pour into the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or so. The brownie is done when the mix no longer wobbles in the centre when the tin is gently shaken. You want a papery skin on the top, and a slight stickiness in the centre.

Leave to cool for ten minutes in the tin before turning out onto a board. The brownie will be easier to slice when it's cooled completely, but it depends if you can wait that long.

Note: You can also omit the cocoa for a slightly less bitter brownie.

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