Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nat's Best Ever Brownies

Hello everyone, I went to Sculpture By The Sea yesterday and as usual it was fantastic. Splendid even, particularly as it was a gorgeous sunny day and there was a whale frolicking just off the coast. Unlike other years, there wasn't one sculpture that I thought particularly outstanding and which will stay with me for years, but lots of really good pieces, particularly ones that sculpted single pieces of silver or glass.

On the way over there, with no relevance to the conversation at the time, my niece piped up "Jane, we really like chocolate brownies" which reminded me of this recipe I have made countless times now and for which people always ask. It is so easy as you throw everything into a mixing bowl (not all at the same time) and just keep mixing. As a result, you get a great, smooth texture. This is yet another recipe from my Epicure Chocolate book, and the recipe was contributed by someone called Natalie who is herself a baker.

Enjoy. Love from Jane xxx

Nat’s Best Ever Brownies

What you need:
· 4 large eggs
· 360g castor sugar
· 320g salted butter
· 130g chocolate
· 120g plain flour
· 80g Dutch cocoa
· 160g cream cheese, chilled
· 180g raw walnuts or pecans, chopped roughly (about halves)
· Optional flavours: 2 tablespoons strong espresso or grated zest of one orange

What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 160°.
2. Line an 18cm x 28cm lamington tin with baking paper.
3. Using a hand held electric beater, beat the eggs and sugar for two minutes on a low speed.
4. While it is mixing, melt the butter and pour over the chocolate and stir to melt.
5. If you are using the coffee or orange, add to the chocolate butter mix at this point.
6. Scrape the chocolate butter mix into the egg mix and continue to beat on a low speed for two minutes.
7. Sift together the flour and cocoa.
8. Add the flour mix to the mixer bowl and mix for two minutes. At this point the batter should begin to look matte and creamy – if it is still dark and glossy, mix it for longer.
9. Drop marble sized pieces of the cream cheese into the mix and continue to mix. Beating in all of the cream cheese makes a rich, gooey brownie; gently folding in larger pieces gives a slightly different texture but it will still be moist.
10. Stir in the nuts.
11. Pour the mixture into the lamington tin.
12. Bake for about 30 minutes or until fine cracks begin to appear on the surface and the edges are starting to puff a little.