Tag Archives: Brownies

Irish Coffee & walnut brownies

I really had high hopes of getting back to a regular blogging schedule.  Evidently that hasn’t happened, and even Sunday Smiles has completely flown out of the window.  With two months until I’m supposed to be handing in a 40,000 word thesis, I’ve accepted that a regular blogging schedule is unlikely to magically throw itself together any time soon.  So I’ll stop peppering the blog with excuses and apologies for not posting, and just hope that you, my lovely regular readers, will hang in there and put up with some seriously sporadic posting.  Will a pretty picture make up for it a bit?  Let’s give it a try:

Have I mentioned how idyllic my surroundings are? I'm actually jealous of myself.

That’ll be the view from a recent evening walk I took with one of my housemates.  Which is obviously not what I’ve been doing instead of blogging.  Perhaps not so surprising that I absolutely love it here, eh?  Moving swiftly on before you all hate me…  I’m sure you’re aware that it was St Patrick’s Day the weekend before last.  (Oh that’s why the internet was suddenly almost entirely decked out in green…)  A couple of my housemates and I went to visit one of our other housemates who is doing research up north (my current housing situation is currently somewhat convoluted and there’s a fair bit of subletting involved) for St Patrick’s weekend.  I, of course, brought baked goods.  And gin, obviously.  But lets focus on the baked goods.

Chocolate and walnuts – a promising start for any baked goods (unless you dislike chocolate or walnuts…)

I wanted something vaguely Irish-themed since it was St Patrick’s and all, and had an urge to bake brownies (which are also easy to transport – win!).  I looked up my favourite brownie recipe (coffee & walnut brownies, since you ask) to see how I could Irishify (totally a word) it.  And it hit me: Irish Coffee & walnut brownies.  Oh yes.

Hang on a second, where did all the brownies go?

AlphaBakesConfession time: I didn’t actually use an Irish whisky – there wasn’t any in the cupboard so I used Glenfiddich, my usual baking whisky.  Luckily the brownies turned out so scrumptious that nobody picked me up on it.  The whisky flavour does come through subtly and goes wonderfully with the other flavours in the brownies.  Success!  I’m submitting these brownies to this month’s AlphaBakes challenge, which is being hosted by Caroline Makes.  The special letter this month is “I,” so that’ll be I for Irish Coffee…  That totally counts as an ingredient, right?  I’m also attempting to sneak my entry in because I totally thought the deadline was today…  It was yesterday.  Thankfully, I’m way more on the ball with my thesis due date…

Oh that's where all the brownies went…  Into the biscuit tin.

Irish Coffee & walnut brownies

Makes 20 brownies
Adapted from Le Larousse des desserts

I used Glenfiddich as that’s my usual baking whisky, but just use whatever you favour – an Irish whisky would obviously be ideal…  You can also use freshly-brewed espresso rather than instant coffee if that’s what you have at home.  These will keep for a several days in an airtight container, though they’re so moreish that I doubt they’ll last that long!  These are probably best enjoyed with a coffee – an Irish Coffee, obviously.

Ingredients

70g walnut pieces of halves
140g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp espresso-style instant coffee
4 tbsp boiling water
3-4 tbsp whisky
1 tbsp cream
60g all-purpose flour
150g caster sugar
2 eggs

Directions

1.  Line a 20 x 25 cm baking tin with baking paper.  Pre-heat the oven to fan 170°C.

2.  Roughly chop the walnuts, then dry toast them in a small frying pan until fragrant, taking care not to let them burn.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Break half the chocolate into pieces and add to a medium heat-proof bowl with the cubed butter.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).  In a little ramekin or glass, dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water.  Add to the chocolate and butter mixture along with the whisky and cream and melt together, stirring occasionally.  When all melted together and smooth, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

3.  Sift the flour into a small bowl.  Roughly chop the remaining chocolate into small chunks and stir into the flour, along with the cooled toasted walnuts.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well mixed and a little foamy.  Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula then pour into the prepared baking tin.  Smooth the top of the mixture if necessary and bake for 18-22 mins until a knife point comes out with a little mixture still stuck to it.

5.  Cool for about 20-30 mins in the tin until just warm, then remove and allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Yummy goodness in progress.

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

N is for Nutella

This month’s letter for the AlphaBakes challenge, which is being hosted by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker, is “N.”  On reading this, Nutella immediately sprang to mind, but I wanted to try and come up with something a little less… obvious – I’m kind of expecting about half of the entries to be Nutella based.  The day before the deadline however, the only alternatives I’ve managed to come up with are nuts, nutmeg and noodles.  Nuts seems a little too broad (I feel it’s like using fruit for F – does that really count?), nutmeg is something I tend to use as an accent rather than a main flavour (again, does that count?) and noodles just weren’t inspiring me.

So I’ve had to give in to my total addiction to Nutella and go down that route…  Gutted.  About a year and a half ago I made some utterly scrumptious Nutella fudge brownies – they’re still one of my favourite baked goods because they’re not only delectable but also incredibly easy to throw together.  One bowl, a whisk, lots of Nutella and an oven and you’re sorted.  Their sheer simplicity is actually a bit of an issue – it’s almost too quick and easy to whip up a batch.  On the other hand, they’re great if you’re a little pressed for time, and guaranteed everybody will like them.  Unless they’re allergic to nuts.  But they’d definitely enjoy them before going into anaphylactic shock.

I decided to try and make an egg-free version of the brownies using the replacing-an-egg-with-banana trick so that everybody at the lab could enjoy them.  My first attempt was tasty enough, but they just didn’t quite live up to the original.  I tweaked the recipe a little further and the results were rather better.  The one thing that irks me is that the middles sank on cooling.  I presume that in the original version, the egg provides structure to the brownies when it cooks, whereas obviously without the egg this isn’t the case.  And baking them for longer would result in a loss of the fudginess.  But they’re still pretty (a dusting of icing sugar helps with that) and, more importantly, super yummy.  Indeed, they were devoured by the lab… except the person who doesn’t like chocolate.  It’s difficult to please everyone!  If there’s no particular reason for you to bake egg-free, I’d recommend my original version since it’s a little quicker to throw together and I do slightly prefer the texture.

Egg-free Nutella fudge brownies

Makes 6
Based on One Ordinary Day

The brownies will sink a bit in the middle on cooling because the centre will still be all fudgy and yummy (and I suspect that the lack of egg results in a slight loss of structure) – a dusting of icing sugar helps make them look pretty anyway.  Don’t worry about the fudginess meaning that they haven’t been cooked through properly or anything – if you look at the ingredients, there isn’t anything for which that might be an issue (such as egg) as they are predominantly composed of Nutella.  The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to three days (although I rather doubt they’ll even make it into an airtight container!).

Ingredients

½ banana (not an over-ripe one)
175g Nutella
1½ tsp yoghurt
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kirsch
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)

Directions

1.  Line 6 muffin holes with paper liners or set out silicone moulds on a baking tray.  Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C.

2.  Mash the half banana to a pulp in a medium-sized bowl (you may want to purée it with a blender).  Add the Nutella and yoghurt and whisk together with an electric whisk until smooth.  Add the flour, kirsch and cinnamon and continue whisking until well blended.

3.  Split the mixture evenly between the muffin liners (I found them to be between ½ and ⅔ full) and bake for about 15 mins.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.  If using silicone cases, allow them to cool in the cases.  Once cooled, sprinkle with icing sugar before serving (totally optional of course, but it adds a nice touch).

Enjoy!

8 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

How to accidentally feed a small child caffeine…

Coffee breaks are a big thing in my lab.  Before I elaborate, I should probably explain my work situation (work as in uni work).  As a postgrad, I have a desk.  A whole desk all to myself, which is kind of exciting.  I mean I effectively had my own space in the computer lab in the last few weeks that I was writing my dissertation (of doom) in St Andrews, but that was more because I claimed it by spending about 18h a day there and leaving my papers and files scattered around it for the 6h that I wasn’t because I was sleeping or eating, but now I have a desk that’s actually mine and doesn’t require scattered highlighters and papers to mark my territory.  I’m clearly going up in the world.

Now this desk is located in the fairly large marine lab, half of which consists of postgrad desks and the other half is the actual lab bit with lab benches and microscopes and chemicals, none of which I actually use.  Other than an invisible line there’s no separation between the desk-filled half and the proper lab half of the room, so the whole thing is classed as a lab.  Food and drink aren’t allowed in labs.  Thus, no food and drink at our desks.  Which means… no coffee.  Which is an issue.  And explains the importance of the coffee break.  The lab is also quite cold, which makes it all the more frustrating that we can’t have hot drinks at our desks.  Coffee breaks mean that we get to venture upstairs where it’s a bit warmer.  Coffee breaks are also ideal for bringing in baked goods that you don’t want to eat an entire batch of by yourself.  And baked goods are a great way of making friends with your labmates.

This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge is being guest hosted by Lucy of The Kitchen Maid and she has chosen “coffee” as the special ingredient, which is an excellent choice because I love the combination of coffee and chocolate.  In fact, they almost pair a little too well, and I actually found it rather difficult to choose what to make because there are just so many possibilities.  I think that coffee and chocolate complement each other best in something fairly rich, so after much indecision I finally settled on coffee and walnut brownies.  The walnuts were the result of some last-minute inspiration, but they go so well with both coffee and chocolate, that they just seemed like they’d make the perfect addition.  And they really did work wonderfully, adding a little bit of crunch and balance to the soft, rich chocolateyness of the brownies.  The coffee blends perfectly with the chocolate – you can definitely taste that it’s there, even if it’s not a distinct flavour and you can’t quite put your finger on it.  I think this might be my favourite brownie recipe ever.

I brought the brownies in for yesterday’s afternoon coffee break and they went down a storm.  One of the guys who works in an offshoot of the marine lab further down the corridor had his kids in with him so they joined us for our coffee break.  I think they’re about 5 and 8 years old.  Whilst their dad was making his coffee and whatever drinks they were having they were eyeing up the brownies sitting on the table, but clearly too scared of all the adults they didn’t really know to ask for some.  I didn’t want to offer them some without first checking that nuts were ok though – I hear that inducing somebody’s child into anaphylactic shock is considered rather bad form.  The fact that there’s caffeine in the brownies totally didn’t cross my mind until after they’d each had half a brownie and their dad said “these are so good, but they taste a bit different to standard chocolate brownies, what’s that extra flavour?”  “That’s probably the coffee.  Oh my gosh, coffee.  I just gave caffeine to your kids.  I am so sorry!!”  Awkward.  I don’t have any younger siblings or young cousins, so I’ve had minimal experience with small children…  Can you tell?  We concluded that there was probably less caffeine in a brownie than in several sips of coke, so they probably wouldn’t go totally crazy.  He even let them have another half each when they asked for more.  Since I’m spending this morning at the aquarium, I won’t have seen him by the time this post publishes, so I’m not sure how that worked out…

Coffee & walnut brownies

Makes 20 brownies
Adapted from Le Larousse des desserts

If you’re not a huge fan of coffee or you want a slightly more subtle flavour, you can decrease the amount of coffee down to 1tbsp dissolved in 2 tbsp of boiling water.  You can also use freshly-brewed espresso rather than instant coffee if that’s what you have at home.  These will keep for a several days in an airtight container, though they’re so moreish that I doubt they’ll last that long!  These are probably best enjoyed with a coffee.

Ingredients

140g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp espresso-style instant coffee
4 tbsp boiling water
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
70g walnut pieces or halves
60g all-purpose flour

Directions

1.  Line a 20 x 25 cm baking tin with baking paper.  Pre-heat the oven to fan 170°C.

2.  Break half the chocolate into pieces and add to a medium heat-proof bowl with the cubed butter.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).  In a little ramekin or glass, dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water.  Add to the chocolate and butter mixture and melt together, stirring occasionally.  When all melted together and smooth, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

3.  Sift the flour into a small bowl.  Roughly chop the remaining chocolate into small chunks and stir into the flour, along with the roughly chopped walnuts.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well mixed and a little foamy.  Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula then pour into the prepared baking tin.  Smooth the top of the mixture if necessary and bake for 15-20 mins until a knife point comes out with a little mixture still stuck to it.

5.  Cool for about 20-30 mins in the tin until just warm, then remove and allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!  And uhm, perhaps avoid feeding them to small children…

16 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Student Life, Sweet Foods

A lazy ode to a wonderful friend

Let me tell you about an amazing person called Keely.  We were at school together in Holland (the third time I lived there), and I’m so lucky to be able to call her one of my best friends.  She has always been there for me (well, since I’ve known her, otherwise that would be weird), and I know that she always will, no matter how far away we are from each other, and I love her to bits for that.  She’s one of those amazing people who, no matter how busy, upset or stressed out she is, will always make time for somebody who needs it.  I find that incredible, because I’m the sort of person that when stressed, nobody gets a look-in.  But Keely isn’t just a wonderful friend, she’s a remarkable person, too.  Despite having a constant source of worry and sorrow in her life, she carries on being there for everybody else and being taken for granted when really everybody else should be there for her.  Neither of us actually know why we’re such great friends – as the expression goes, we’re like chalk and cheese.  We have totally different tastes in films, men (think Zac Efron vs Daniel Craig), clothes, interests and food.  Keely is religious, I’m really not; I love academics (though I’ll tell you otherwise just before a deadline), Keely really doesn’t enjoy academics at all; she never cries, I cry all the time; I’m a huge fan of gin (in case you didn’t know), Keely hates the stuff; she has a heart of gold, I really don’t.  I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.  Despite our many differences though, we just click, and we always have, probably because we can both be super-talkative and totally immature.  We had the same free periods in our last year of school, and this is usually how they were spent:

That photo was taken five years ago, and things haven’t changed much – whenever we see each other we spend a lot of time not getting anything done.  When we finished school, Keely got into the University of Liverpool to study Orthoptics, and she successfully completed her degree a year and a half ago, which was a huge achievement (as I mentioned, academics really isn’t her thing, but I always knew she would do it), and I’m still so, so proud of her for it.  She got a job as an Orthoptist at the hospital in Oxford, which I’m also super proud of her for.  She started that job almost exactly a year ago, and she loves it.  I went down to Oxford in September as a surprise for her birthday, and because she loves cake and enjoys baking (probably a significant contributing factor to our friendship), I gave her Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake.

I hadn’t heard of Eric Lanlard before coming across his book in Waterstone’s (I’m not a fan of this apostrophe removal rebranding nonsense – what’s that all about?! – so I’m stubbornly leaving it in), but I liked the way the book was laid out, the photos were mouth-watering and there was a good variety of recipes.  And I also knew that Keely would be a total fan of Eric Lanlard, who conveniently features in several photos in the book.  Before wrapping it up, I may or may not have taken photos of the recipes that interested me…  If you ever receive a cookbook from me, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ve been through it and done exactly that (writing the recipes out takes far too long and scanning them involves flattening the book and damaging the spine).  Does anybody else do that, or is it just me?  Is it weird?  One of the recipes that had caught my eye was for cream cheese brownies, which I must admit I wasn’t convinced by, but I was definitely intrigued.  Last week was a stressful week where everything seemed to go wrong or be unnecessarily complicated, so I was in need of a cheer-up baking session, and I decided to finally give these brownies a go…

The original recipe uses coffee, but I substituted that with Kahlúa, which obviously had everything to do with having a bottle of Kahlúa which needed finishing and nothing to do with me feeling a bit too lazy to actually make coffee (because it takes so much effort, ahem).  Don’t judge too much, because it totally worked.  Against my expectations, the combination of cream cheese and brownie actually went well together, although I’d decided I wanted the middle to be fudgy and didn’t quite baked the brownies as long as I should have so the cream cheese in the middle slices was vaguely reminiscent of cheesecake (which I really don’t like, but my mum does and she ate all the middle slices), but on the outer slices where it was properly cooked, it was delicious.  It adds a sharp tang to the brownie which just cuts through but doesn’t overwhelm the general chocolateyness.  Be warned though, these are pretty heavy and rich, so they might not be ideal if you’re on a January detox!  So these cream cheese Kahlúa brownies are for Keely – we’ll just ignore that she has the book that the recipe came from and I know she’s already made them and loves them, and we’ll also skip over the fact that my version was born out of total laziness (I’m such a great friend) – because she’s just so wonderful.  I love her to bits and I’m so proud of her, and she’s one of the best friends one could ever wish for!

Cream cheese Kahlúa brownies

Makes 12-16 brownies
Adapted from Home Bake

Whilst I used Kahlúa, the original recipe calls for 100ml of freshly-brewed coffee, so do go for that option if you don’t have any Kahlúa or don’t like the stuff.  The marbling can be as messy as you like since these will be cut up after baking (and it’s also far more fun to do than it probably should be!).  When baking, make sure there’s no wobble in the middle of the brownies, as this means they won’t be properly cooked in the middle (even if you normally like your brownies fudgy, trust me on this one).  These brownies are very rich, heavy and chocolatey, so cutting them into smaller squares is probably the best option.

Ingredients

For the brownies:
150g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
250g caster sugar
1 tsp coffee extract
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
100ml Kahlúa
100g all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese marbling:
150g cream cheese
1 egg
60g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1.  Butter and line a 20 x 20cm cake tin (don’t use anything smaller or it will overflow – you can use a slightly bigger tin and reduce the baking time slightly).  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Break the chocolate into a large heat-proof bowl and add the diced butter.  Melt them together over a pan of simmering water, stirring from time to time.  Once glossy, remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool a little.

3.  Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add the eggs and whisk until smooth (if using an electric whisk, make sure it won’t shatter your heat-proof bowl).

4.  Gently whisk in the Kahlúa, and then sift in the flour.  Whisk the mixture together until smooth.  Set aside whilst making the cream cheese marbling mixture.

5.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth (this can easily be done by hand, particularly if the cream cheese is softened).  Beat the egg in a small bowl, then add it to the cream cheese, along with the sugar and coffee extract and whisk them all together until smooth.

6.  Pour the chocolate brownie mixture into the prepared cake tin, followed by the cream cheese mixture.  Using a knife, cut through the cream cheese layer to marble the layers.

7.  Bake for 30-35 mins (cover with tin foil for the last 10 mins if necessary to avoid the top from burning), making sure the middle isn’t wobbly.  Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under Ramblings, Recipes, Sweet Foods

We Should Cocoa #14: Aztec brownies

If I’m going to post today, I can’t really do so without briefly mentioning the rugby…  Although France lost, at least we (because I’m totally part of the French rugby team, didn’t you know?) completely blew apart the expectations of most of the rest of the world (well, the bits of the world that care about rugby) that we would play dreadfully and be completely annihilated by the All Blacks.  So hah!  And I’ll be honest, New Zealand deserved to win the World Cup anyway, particularly on home soil.  Now that I’ve got that totally knowledgeable commentary mini rant out the way, let’s talk about brownies.

More specifically, let’s talk about chilli brownies.  The wonderful combination of chocolate and chilli appears to have been somewhat overlooked recently.  Many people seem to be unaware of how perfectly these two flavours go together, which is odd, considering that this particular pairing has been around since the Aztecs or maybe even the Mayans – either way, it’s not exactly a new discovery.  Luckily though, Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog presented the perfect excuse for a foray into this flavour pairing by setting “chilli” as the special ingredient for October’s We Should Cocoa challenge.

It took me most of the month to decide what to actually make.  Cookies, cupcakes, macarons – the possibilities are endless.  In the end, I decided to make chilli brownies in order to use the chilli pepper that went into my chilli crème de cacao experiment, as well as to use some of the actual liqueur.  I had a little moment of inspiration whilst making the brownies, and threw in some cinnamon as well, so they morphed into Aztec brownies.  They also turned out lovely and fudgy, and the chilli flavour is subtle rather than in-your-face, but you can definitely taste it, so it is quite warming (which is always a bonus with winter approaching).  I couldn’t taste that there was alcohol in them, but that could just be me, and I haven’t been able to test these on anybody else to get a second opinion about that.  Either way, they’re still delicious and that’s what counts, right?

Aztec brownies

Makes 9-12 brownies
Adapted from The Craving Chronicles

These are fudgy in the middle, with a lovely warmth from the chilli peppers.  Obviously the strength of the chilli peppers will affect how chilli-y the brownies turn out.  If the chilli peppers that you’re using are very strong, you might wish to omit the chilli powder, depending on your tastes.  One of the chilli peppers that I used was the one that I used to infuse the chilli crème de cacao also used in the recipe.  If you don’t want to make up an entire batch of chilli crème de cacao, you could always just infuse the amount needed with one of the required chilli peppers, or just use normal dark crème de cacao and add a little more chilli powder to the dry ingredients.  These can be stored in an air-tight box for a few days (but they won’t last that long!).

Ingredients

2 chilli peppers
125g all-purpose flour
45g cocoa powder (at least 70%)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
60g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
55g unsalted butter
2 eggs
125g light brown sugar
80ml chilli crème de cacao (click for the recipe)
1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate (optional):
Icing sugar
Ground cinnamon

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 175°C.  Line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin with baking paper.

2.  Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds but keep the white filaments.  Finely chop the chilli peppers and set aside.

3.  In a heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn’t immersed in the water).  Remove from the heat as soon as they are melted together and set aside to cool slightly for about 5 mins.

4.  Meanwhile, sift the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chilli powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and mix well.

5.  Lightly beat the eggs together in a small bowl.  Slowly add about 3-4 tbsp of the melted chocolate to the eggs, beating constantly.  Once combined, stir the egg mixture into the remaining chocolate mixture.  Then add the sugar, chilli crème de cacao and vanilla essence and return the bowl to the simmering pan of water over a low heat.  Mix for a few mins until the sugar has melted.

6.  Fold the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the lined baking tin and bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick comes out almost clean (remember that the brownie will continue to cook slightly once it is removed from the oven and that it will also harden).  Allow the brownie to sit in the pan for about 10 mins before lifting out onto a cooling rack and sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and ground cinnamon (optional).  Eat warm or allow to cool.

Enjoy!

PS – I’m well aware that my photos are a bit yellow-y.  Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how to sort that out – my Photoshop skills are pretty limited.

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

Peanut butter brownies

I’ve been baking a lot in the last week or so, due to a combination of factors.  Firstly, I’ve been feeling a little bit lonely – pretty much everybody I know has left St Andrews, though some will be back for Graduation in a few weeks.  Spending time in the kitchen is the obvious way to keep myself occupied.  There’s also a definite element of procrastination to it.  I have several things I should be doing – sorting out the rest of my life (Graduation is in less than a month), slowly continuing to pack up the flat (I move out in a month or so, and I’ve acquired a lot of stuff during four years of university), making a start on the thorough clean that the flat is going to need (we’ve lived in the same flat for three years, including the summers, so that’ll be fun) – but well, I’m sure you’d pick baking, too.  Thirdly, I was left with a lot of left over flour, sugar, butter, etc. by various people who’ve already moved out and didn’t want it to go to waste.  So really, I just have to bake, if only to work my way through the 6kg of three different types of flour I currently have stored in my kitchen (I’m not exaggerating).

I came across a recipe for peanut butter brownies in the May 2011 issue of BBC Good Food, but hadn’t quite got round to trying it out yet, so I gave it a go the other day.  The recipe conveniently finished off one of the 56 (ok, that’s a minor exaggeration) opened bags of self-raising flour that I have sitting around my kitchen at the moment and also used up most of a random spare jar of peanut butter that I had at the back of my cupboard, as well as making a slight dent in my epic chocolate reserves (seriously, if there’s ever a chocolate shortage, I could make a fortune on the black market.  The same goes for butter – I seem to unintentionally stock-pile it for some odd reason).  Hurrah for slowly getting through the food reserves!

The best bit about these brownies though, is that they are absolutely delicious and completely moreish.   That’s all there really is to say.  Though you have to be a serious lover of peanut butter, particularly of the crunchy variety.  Since peanut butter is the main ingredient, I don’t really think you’d enjoy these so much if you’re not really a fan…  Oh and you probably won’t enjoy them if you’re allergic to peanuts either (awkward?).  But otherwise, they’re great!  They’re also ridiculously easy, which might be an issue.  Just typing the recipe up makes me want to go and bake another batch.  Oh dear…

Peanut butter brownies

Makes 16 brownies
Recipe from BBC Good Food (May 2011)

As I said above, these are, quite frankly, super yummy and utterly moreish.  That’s all I really have to say, except that they’re also super easy!

Ingredients

225g crunchy peanut butter
200g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
280g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
100g self-raising flour

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C.  Line a 19 x 25 cm brownie tin with baking paper.

2.  Add 175g of the peanut butter, 150g of the chocolate (broken into squares) and all the sugar to a large saucepan and melt together over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has just melted.

3.  Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time using a wooden spoon or a spatula.  Add the flour and stir until fully incorporated.  Spread the batter into the prepared tin.

4.  In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 50g of peanut butter until runny.  Drizzle the peanut butter over the top of the brownie batter.  Bake for 25-30 mins until crusty on top but still fudgy in the middle.

5.  Melt the remaining 50g of chocolate in a small saucepan and drizzle over the top of the brownie once it has been removed from the oven.  Allow to cool in the tin before gently lifting the brownie out and cutting into squares (or cut in the tin if that’s easier – most of my baking tins are non-stick though so I can’t really do that).

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

Happy World Nutella Day 2011!

Ya, that’s right – as decreed by Ms. Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso, in what is quite blatantly a stroke of pure genius, today is World Nutella Day!

So to celebrate the general awesomeness that is Nutella, I’ve made these rather fabulous Nutella fudge brownies…  I came across the recipe a while ago, and it’s sort of been sitting at the back of my mind – the original recipe only asked for four ingredients (!) and seemed fairly quick and straightforward.  Perfect for a bit of procrastination!

I also really liked that they are baked in muffin cases – it’s something a little different (for brownies) and I have some silicone muffin moulds that I’m totally obsessed with.  I also have some silicone mini muffin moulds (you know where I’m going with this, don’t you…?) so I decided to make both “normal” sized ones and mini ones.  The mini ones were slightly less fudgy, but they were still so good with the bonus of being bite-sized and totally adorable!

Nutella fudge brownies

Makes 6 “normal” sized or 14 mini brownies (in muffin cases)
Adapted from One Ordinary Day

This was a super-easy recipe, apart from one minor detail: the original recipe uses American cups, and I don’t have any cups.  So I looked online for a conversion for cups of Nutella.  I found one site that said 1 cup was equivalent to 300g of Nutella, and another that said it was equivalent to 390g – slight difference!  So I decided to average them and go for 350g.  They tasted good, so I can’t have been too far out!  I also added a tiny bit of kirsch to bring the chocolate flavour out a bit more.  The original recipe also suggests sprinkling some crushed hazelnuts on top of the brownies before putting them in the oven – something to try next time.  Also, a word of advice, double the recipe – it will save you the hassle of immediately making a second batch!

Ingredients

175g Nutella
1 egg
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of kirsch

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  Line 6 muffin holes with paper liners (or set out silicone moulds).

2.  Whisk the Nutella and eggs together in a bowl.  Once smooth and well-blended, add the flour, cinnamon and kirsch, and continue whisking until well blended.

3.  Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners, filling them about ¾ full.  Bake for 12 mins (7-8 mins for the mini ones) and cool on a wire rack (leave them in the silicone cases – it makes them even more moist).  Serve immediately or store for up to 3 days in an airtight container (I defy you to leave these lying around for 3 days!)

Enjoy!

Nutella fudge brownies

9 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods