I apologise for my mini-hiatus from this site folks. I’ve been a-moving this last weekend and the week before was so filled with negotiating out of an old contract and into a new one, plus my regular day to day PhD goings-on that I didn’t end up baking or making anything. The low point was spaghetti with parmesan. Although on a level, that’s not really a low point is it? There’s something incredibly comforting about plain pasta with cheese. Like a hark back to my childhood, when Sunday dinners on the farm were occasions where we all ate pasta and cheddar cheese with abandon, the bowls precariously balanced in our laps, in front of the fire.
But I digress. I have officially moved and I can now boast about an actual oven. With four hobs and a grill section and an oven section.
The lady who showed me around the place was quite surprised by my reaction to the (still tiny) space, but how could she know about the even tinier space I’d been cooking in? This kitchen is like the ones at Hampton Court in comparison. And what better way to break in my new oven, find out it’s nooks and quirks than with a chocolate brownie recipe.
The choice of chocolate brownie is as a result of a number of factors really. I’ve been re-reading Chocolat and now The Lollipop Shoes so I’ve been immersed in chocolate fiction. The descriptions of tempering and moulding and dipping candied orange peels are enough to drive one to distraction. I also happen to have the 300g of dark chocolate required by this recipe, plus the butter (which is unusual) and I’ve had the page of the magazine, from which this recipe is adapted, open for the better part of a month. It’s like destiny chocolate brownies. The fact that they make my flat smell perfect (perfect for reading books about chocolate) is just an added bonus.
So to business. This recipe is adapted from Food and Travel magazine, the June 2012 issue. It’s straight forward and similar to a standard recipe I would normally use. The key is to whisk the eggs and sugar until white, until you can draw a ribbon of mixture from your whisk and write your name with it. (This is known as ribbon stage…) I omitted the coffee and used plain flour with baking powder rather than self-raising flour. I also used less walnuts than originally asked for but I think it worked out okay. I also prefer golden caster sugar to regular caster sugar. If I was being professional I’d probably argue that the golden sugar highlights the caramel notes in the chocolate, but I’m not so, use whichever is your preference.
Adapted from Food and Travel
300g dark chocolate, 70%
220g unsalted butter
220g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
70g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Handful of bashed walnuts (use up to 100g)
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a rectangular baking tin with baking paper.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until white and at ribbon stage. (They should double in volume.)
Stir in the vanilla.
Melt the butter on the stove, remove from the heat and add in the chocolate, broken into pieces. Allow everything to sit for a minute before stirring until smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold together until the mixtures are fully incorporated.
Fold in the flour and baking powder and then the walnuts.
Pour into your lined tin and bake for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing. I ate mine still warm, with the first of the summer’s strawberries.