Friday 7 November 2014

My ultimate chocolate brownies

I know I have given you another lovely brownie recipe already but this one is rather special to me - because as of this year, this mother of a teen and an almost-teen finds her services as the "birthday cake baker" sadly no longer required: no more mega bakes for school, and, in the case of my now 14 year old, also no more birthday cakes at home... in fact, for his big day last month he didn't even want a party but invited four of his friends to lunch at a local Italian restaurant instead - crazy or what! (However, my hopes were raised a few weeks ago when there was talk of a "bake sale" one (unspecified) morning at their school. Trying desperately not to appear too keen/needy I would "casually“ enquire about said event every day: "Oh I almost forgot – didn't you say there was some kind of cake thing at school sometime?" Answers, however, were not forthcoming – until the last time when I was blithely told: "Oh yeah that was yesterday – didn't you know? I thought you knew..." - "No. I. Didn't." (through clenched teeth). "Were.They.Any.Good?" - "Nah – not really...")

BUT the one bake that both my children (and especially my son) still regularly ask for are these chocolate brownies and I was SO happy to provide him with these beauties as a sort-of-cake... I've tried A LOT of recipes over the years but these are simply the best: they are so delectable in their rich gooey-ness yet so easy (as are, in fact, all brownies) and they work each and every time.

Here are some I made earlier (this year) - to celebrate the arrival of my son's
"Hannibal Lecter" mask (don't ask) - and with a "Tardis" stencil by his sister...

I'm sure you all have your own tried-and-tested chocolate brownies recipe but I do urge you to give these a try – you will not regret it. (The recipe is slightly adapted from Nigella (Lawson)'s How to be a domestic goddess book):

375g butter
375g dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa)*
6 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
500g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180° / 160° fan oven.
Line a ca 33 x 23 cm baking tin with baking paper.
Put the chocolate and butter into a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on medium heat for ca 2 mns (checking/stirring every 30 secs) until melted.
In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
Beat the eggs and sugar into the chocolate mixture followed by the flour.
Beat to combine and then pour into the baking tin.
Bake for about 25 – 45 mns.**
When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown, there should be some cracks all over and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out almost clean.
Let cool completely before cutting.

*Lidl sell fantastic-value 74% dark chocolate for 0.85€/100g.
**The baking time DOES vary from oven to oven so DO check after 20 mns or so.

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