My New Favourite Brownies

Posted on February 28, 2014

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things{we}make favourite brownies

I’m not going to tell you these are the ‘Best Brownies Ever’.

They may not even be my favourites until the end of time. But just at the moment, they are very much in vogue in the Sutton household.

I made the first version, as requested, for George’s birthday. They went down well: A month later, when he asked one of his friends if he’d like to come round to ours again, the first question was “Will there be more brownies?”

I’ve just dropped George at the bus stop with 2 wraps of brown.

One for him and one for his friend.

Fluffy Brownie Batter

There are some methods* in the recipe that make them just so.

Firstly (and this is unusual for brownies as they are normally just require a leisurely stir) you vigorously beat the butter, sugar and eggs until they become voluminous and mousse-like. This is what gives the crackly meringue top to the finished brownie.

This is probably difficult to achieve by hand. Sorry about that.

Then there’s a mixture of dark and milk chocolate to balance bitter and sweet.

Melted chocolate

Yes, I licked that spoon.

Chocolatey Brownie Mix

There is a little cocoa…but not too much.

Brownies heavy on the cocoa, can have a dark chalkiness. Most of the flavour here comes, not from cocoa, but from delicious, melted chocolate – and a whole pack of butter.

Brownie Batter

Still, there is an extra chocolatey boost from some dark chocolate shards. These give richness without distracting from the yielding softness of the cake.

When I eat a brownie I am signed up for tender, moist cake, not lumps of walnut or crusty chocolate chips.

Brownie Pan

Then there’s a strange bit of blast cooling.

You plunge the hot cake tin into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This ensures a gooey centre whilst still making sure the mixture is properly cooked in the first place. Just remember what they taught you at school about displacement. Don’t add too much water; you don’t want an overflow situation here. Oh, and Claire, don’t do this bit if you’ve used your loose bottomed or Eye-Catcher tin. The water WILL leak in and give you a soggy bottom. #justsayin

Lastly – and this is the most difficult part:

I advise that you put the cooled brownies in a tin and DON”T EAT THEM for 24 hours!

Brownie

This is almost impossible, but it really helps the texture and the flavour to develop.

It is actually truly impossible for George, who is allowed to sneak just one from the tin.

Try though I might, I can’t keep the brownie baking a secret as he sniffs them out the minute he walks through the door.

So there you have it. My new favourite brownie recipe.

I’ll let you know if it changes again.

Things{we}make’s New Favourite Brownies

250g softened butter

300g golden caster sugar

175g 70% cocoa (dark) chocolate

100g good quality milk chocolate

½ tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs, plus 1 extra egg yolk

90g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

30g cocoa powder

1. Pre-heat oven to 170-180°C, and line a 23cm square baking tin with baking parchment.

2. Beat the butter until very soft then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy

3. Lightly whisk the 3 eggs and 1 yolk and then add them to the butter/sugar mix a spoonful at a time. Beat well between each spoonful to ensure it’s incorporated before adding the next or it may split.

4. Mix on high-speed for 5 minutes until pale and moussey and increased in volume.

5. While the batter is whipping; over a pan of gently simmering water, place a bowl with 100g of the milk and 100g of the dark chocolate broken into pieces. Allow to melt, stirring only occasionally, then remove from the heat.

6. Chop the last 75g of chocolate into shards.

7. Gently fold the slightly cooled chocolate into the batter with a metal spoon, then add the chocolate shards.

8. Fold in the sifted flour, vanilla, baking powder and cocoa powder.

9. Spoon the mixture into the prepped tin, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a skewer and if it comes out with cake mix on, put it back into the oven for another couple of minutes.

10. Put an inch of water in a roasting tin and add some ice.

11. Remove the tin of now cooked brownies from the oven and carefully place in the cold water bath for half an hour – this promptly stops the cooking process.

12. Place the cooled cake in a tin (still on the baking parchment) and wait until tomorrow to eat them! Leaving the cakes to rest makes them easier to slice and makes them even more unctuous and clarty.

* The tips about the whipping up the batter, the cooling in the ice bath and the original method come from Felicity Cloake’s article in The Guardian “How to make the perfect Brownie”