Having said that, I do love a good brownie and by this I mean one that is fudgy in texture with a deep chocolate taste. I find it amazing how so many foods that claim to be chocolate don’t actually taste of it. In this regard, when making brownies, it is important to balance the sweetness of the sugar with the chocolate that is used and this often means using a good quality chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids. Also, whether one likes it or not, brownies contain a lot of sugar but it is the ratio of the sugar to the other ingredients which gives them their characteristic crisp exterior which gives way to a moist and fudgy centre.
Some brownie recipes advocate the use of cocoa powder only and others the use of melted chocolate. Whilst cocoa powder undoubtedly gives the brownies an intensely chocolate flavour, I find that they tend to be more ‘cakey’ than fudgy, which is not what I am after. Using melted chocolate alone creates a brownie which can lack depth of flavour, so I hedge my bets and use both.
I am really pleased with this recipe because I think that I have finally succeeded in baking brownies that satisfy my exacting requirements. I used a slightly larger tin than normal which resulted in 24 generous sized brownies measuring approximately 6cm x 6cm each.
I have not included nuts in this recipe as my children prefer that they be omitted and also because brownie purists insist that they should not be used, but feel free to add some, roughly chopped is you like. To be honest, I rather like the nutty crunch of pecans and often would include them despite the disapproving howls of annoyance that escape from my children.
You will see in the accompanying photos that I have topped the brownie in them with a scoop of malt ice-cream and a coffee liqueur syrup. I have included the recipe for the syrup here, but feel that the malt ice-cream deserves its own post which I hope to publish soon (trust me… it’s really good).Brownies:
430g caster sugar
150g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coffee liqueur syrup:
100ml coffee flavoured liqueur
25g caster sugar
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas mark 3. Line a 36cm x24cm x 5cm baking tray/tin with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
2. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of lightly simmering water making sure that you do not let the base of the bowl touch the bubbling water. Stir the chocolate mixture occasionally.
3. Remove the bowl once the chocolate and butter have melted and add the sugar, stirring well until fully incorporated. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together and stir into the chocolate mixture making sure that no ‘pockets’ of the dry ingredients remain. Lastly add the eggs and stir these in so that they too, are well incorporated.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with a spatula or the back of a metal spoon and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the brownies are flaky on top but still a little squidgy in the centre.
5. Leave to cool completely before cutting in to 24 squares. These are lovely served re-warmed slightly with a dollop of ice-cream and a drizzle of the following syrup.
Coffee liqueur syrup:
6. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring up to simmering point. Allow to bubble uncovered until the liquid has reduced by half. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over ice-cream.