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Mike has not one but TWO browie recipes. Find out why in his full 'B is for...' column.

 

The Day-to-day Brownie

110g chocolate

50g butter

150g soft brown sugar

2 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g plain flour

30g cocoa powder

pinch of baking powder

 

melting chocolatePreheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C/350F. Take an 8" square baking tin - a small roasting tin will do - and tear off a length of baking parchment bigger than the tin. Scrunch up the baking parchment into a ball, unravel it and use this to line the tin. Break up your chocolate of choice and put into a glass bowl over simmering water to melt.

chocolate brownies mixingWhilst that's melting, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until light and frothy. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and add the butter, stirring it in as it melts. When combined slowly add the sugar and egg mixture to the chocolate whilst stirring, making sure that the chocolate isn't too warm (otherwise the eggs start to cook). Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold this into the mixture, making sure that it's well combined.

pour brownies into panPour into the lined tin and put on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the middle, and if it comes out with wet mixture on put it back in the oven for another five minutes.

 

You want the toothpick to come out with clumps of barely-cooked mixture, not wet mix; the brownie will solidify as it cools. If after the first five minutes it is still wet, put the tin back in, but this time for three minutes, and check at three minute intervals.

pan of baked chocolate browniesWhen it looks right remove from the tin, but leave in the baking parchment until cooled, then slice into as big or small pieces as you like - I normally chop into 12. You can eat the brownies warm, but they're much better if left alone for a bit.

If the toothpick comes out completely dry the brownie is overcooked, but that's ok and rescue-able; just make some chocolate buttercream (which I'll get to in D is for Decorating) and pretend it's a cake.

 

The Something Special Brownie

This one needs a lightly bigger tin - a roasting tin is ideal. There's no point in doing things by halves when they're this good. Lining the tin in the same way as above is fine; scrunch up a length of baking parchment and just stuff it into the corners.

 

300g soft brown sugar (but note my comments on experimenting, above)

250g butter, softened

250g chocolate (experiment!)

3 large eggs

60g flour

60g cocoa powder

pinch of baking powder

 

Preheat oven to GM4/180C/350F, line the tin as before. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a glass bowl as before. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and has lightened in colour; I'm not a huge fan of food processors so I do this by hand, but feel free to use a processor if you wish as it can take a while.

mixed browniesCheck on the chocolate whilst you're doing this, because you want to take it off the heat as soon as it has melted. Beat the eggs slightly with a fork, and slowly add these a bit at a time to the butter and sugar, mixing well between additions. Add the chocolate - use a rubber spatula to get it all out of the bowl! - and mix well, then sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder into the mixture, carefully folding it so it is well mixed, but still keeps as much air as possible.

pan of browniesPour this into the tin, and bake for 30 minutes on the middle shelf; check with a toothpick as before, and if it is still wet put back in for five minutes, then three minutes if it needs a bit longer. Again, you want it to be a bit gooey, not dry or wet. Leave to cool and chop as you wish; this one is almost more like ganache than a brownie, and the extra effort involved is worth every second.

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