Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Naughty But Nice!

Bit of a cheat post today as I've been flying solo at work this week but when you see the 'cheat', I'm sure you won't mind!

As if the photo above doesn't give the game away, today, I'm going to share my family recipe for scrummy chocolate brownies! It's a fairly easy method without too many ingredients but there are loads of ways to tweak it to your taste. I'll add some suggestions at the end.


200g (7oz) good quality plain/dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids is a good guide)
250g (9oz) butter (unsalted is best but not vital)
80g (3oz) cocoa powder
65g (2.5 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
360g (13oz) caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-3 drops vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4 and grease a 24cm (9inch) square baking tin (or line it with greaseproof or baking parchment - whichever is your preferred method).

Next, heat a pan of water, put a heatproof bowl over it and melt the chocolate slowly with the butter. Make sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl or it may overheat & split the chocolate. Also be careful not to get any water in the chocolate mixture.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into another bowl then add the sugar and mix slightly. Once the chocolate and butter mixture is melted through, stir them to mix and then stir them gently into the flour mixture. Add the vanilla essence and eggs at this point and stir all ingredients together until you have a smooth, fairly liquid mixture. Pour into the prepared baking tin and pop in the oven.

Unlike an ordinary cake, we don't want this one to cook all the way through - brownies should still be slightly gooey on the inside so take them out of the oven at about 25 minutes cook time. Set on a wire rack to cool in the tin.

Once cooled, turn out the whole cake and cut into generous squares or slices, you can sift a little icing sugar (confectioners sugar) over the top if you want or leave them plain.

Optional Extras or Variations

Pecan & White Chocolate - add the chopped pecans and white chocolate chips to the mixed batter before pouring into tin - about 100g (4oz) of each.

Chocolate Orange - replace the dark chocolate with orange flavored chocolate - there are some good dark chocolate orange bars available now too. Also replace the vanilla essence with 1/2 teaspoon orange oil.

Cherry & Chopped Nuts - 75g (3oz) dried sour cherries and 50g (2oz) chopped mixed nuts - just stir them into the mixture before pouring into baking tin.

I love one of these brownies served warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream or a dollop of creme fraiche. This recipe makes between 15-20 servings, depending of course on how big your slices are. The brownies should keep well for up to 4 days in an airtight container but I bet that won't be a problem!


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  1. Sometimes a little cheating is okay, as long as you don't make a habit of it.

    1. Thank you Paul! These brownies are so good though, one batch is a big enough cheat for at least 3 months! :)