Damn the man (save the empire) brownies (with rye flour for virtuousness)

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For those days when the world feels against you.

Make these, eat a few, and the world will be somewhat restored. If nothing else, your friends and family will love you forever.

Damn the man (save the empire) brownies

Adapted from Poires au Chocolat, who adapted it from Paul A. Young

For the caramel:

150g light brown sugar

80g double cream

20g butter, unsalted

a generous pinch of salt, about 1/4 tsp (optional)

For the brownie:

100g unsalted butter

200g light brown sugar

75g golden syrup

4 eggs

210g dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped

70g rye flour

30g cocoa powder

First, make the caramel. Place the sugar in a saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then increase the heat and boil until the sugar turns a dark golden colour and is quite thick. Because this recipe uses light brown sugar, do not use a sugar thermometer as by the time you reach caramel stage your sugar will be black. (It reaches somewhere between soft crack and hard crack stage when you need to remove it. I do this by smell and colour, catching it just before it turns.) Take the caramel off the heat and add the double cream. It will bubble violently. Stir, checking that you don’t have any pieces of sugar. (If you do, return to the heat and heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved. Alternatively, strain the end product.) Then add in the butter (and salt if using). Set aside to cool.

For the brownies, line a long, rectangular tin with parchment (mine is 28cm long) and preheat the oven to 170C. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and melt over a low heat, stirring to ensure no sugar burns on the edges. Once everything is emulsified and the butter is melted, add in the dark chocolate and switch off the heat. Let this sit for a minute and then stir in the chocolate. If there are any pieces not melted, switch the heat back on very low and stir until everything has melted. Set this aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add these into your chocolate mixture, stirring until incorporated. Then fold in the rye flour and cocoa powder. Pour the mixture into the lined brownie tin and use a spatula to ease it into the corners. Pour the caramel all over the top, and then swirl this in.

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Bake until the mixture is glossy on top and set. This takes about 20 minutes. A knife inserted into the mixture will come out clean (any caramel on the knife is okay). If you shake the tin, it should wobble only ever so slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer to the freezer and cool for a half hour. Turn the brownies out of the tin (I do this by pulling the parchment loose on either side and then sliding them out, face upwards) and slice into small squares. This makes approximately 36.

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Eat. (These keep well in the freezer, never really freezing solid and developing a fantastic texture that is silky smooth).

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And just in case you need to be reminded about Empire Records: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2-LdSfXo14  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC1Vfoq3PvU

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