Pecan, cranberry and chocolate brownies

A friend recently asked me to bake a ‘festive traybake’ so I decided to add some Christmassy tastes to chocolate brownies, using just ingredients I had in the house (it was too cold to go out to the shops!). The result was a very rich and tasty brownie, with a hint of Christmas. Very easy too 🙂

Ingredients:

150g dark chocolate

200g Stork (or equivalent)

215g soft brown sugar

150g self raising flour

40g extra dark cocoa powder

3 eggs (large)

50g dried cranberries

100g pecan nuts

80g cranberry sauce

IMG_20151210_161947Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4 and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment. Break the chocolate into chunks and melt it with the Stork in the microwave.
  2. Mix together the sugar, flour and cocoa powder and stir in the melted chocolate and Stork mixture, followed by the eggs. Stir through the dried cranberries and pecan nuts, followed by the cranberry sauce.
  3. Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 – 40 mins. Allow to cool before slicing.

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food).

In Praise of the Full Fat Brownie

A few months ago I began a journey to find The Best Brownie Recipe, but I got a little side tracked. Side tracked by things like black beans and sweet potatoes. I was inundated with brownie recipes which were packed full of sweet sounding delights, lashings of butter, mountains of sugar, and more ‘best quality’ chocolate than you could ever dream of. But for some reason I decided to try out some of the ‘healthy’ or ‘free from’ alternatives. I’ll keep going on that detour, but this evening I returned to The True Path.

I was baking 4 batches of brownies for a wedding this weekend. Initially I thought this would be a great time to try out 4 different recipes. I even picked 4 from my friends and made a little hand drawn spreadsheet of the ingredients, detailing how much of each thing I would need for each recipe and then totalling it up at the end. But then I realised this was possibly not the time to undertake this experiment. For the experiment to be Truly Scientific I will need Score Cards, and I will need everyone to try every brownie. I’m not sure that it would be right to turn the wedding into a Highly Scientific Brownie Experiment. So, I put my spreadsheet to the side (it will be used later, don’t you worry) and stuck to my trustworthy recipe.

And, you know what, it was a bit of a relief to return to this old friend. A brownie recipe that contains chocolate. And sugar. And flour. And butter. And even eggs. And lots of all those things. (Except the flour – there’s not much flour). Maybe one day I’ll be a Healthy Brownie Convert, but for now I’ll just run further tomorrow*.

(*I will in actual fact not run tomorrow at all, I haven’t run for about 2 weeks. A girl has to prioritise and sometimes Baking wins. But it’s the thought that counts….)

Anyhow, here’s the recipe that I’ve been using for all these years:

Ingredients:
200g butter (or marge, or stork, or value spread – it’s all the same if you ask me!)
200g dark chocolate (again, value is just fine!)
3 medium eggs
250g caster sugar
112g plain flour
200g white chocolate (value fine, again!) chopped into chunks
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp vanilla essence

Bake in:
Approx 12.5 x 8 inches baking tin lined with baking parchment

Method:
-Preheat oven to 170 degrees C and line tin with parchment
-Melt dark chocolate and butter together in microwave
-Beat eggs and sugar together until pale. Add the melted choc and mix well until blended
-Add flour, salt, white choc, vanilla essence and stir all together
-Pour into tin and bake for about 30 mins, poss a bit longer. Top will look cracked and you want it to be ever so slightly gooey still on the inside.
-Enjoy!!

Brownies’ Honour

I am on a Quest. A Mission. A Journey of Great Importance. A Voyage of Discovery. Call it what you will, I am trying to find the best brownie recipe out there. The brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

You are probably reading this and thinking ‘let me save you the hassle. I’ve got the best brownie recipe. I’ve been using it for years. It’s been passed down my family for generations. In fact, my family invented chocolate brownies.’ In which case, please send it my way. But the thing about brownie recipes is that almost everyone has one which they could (more or less) say that about. I think this is possibly more true for brownies than any other baked good. Many of my friends have their own special brownie recipe, and some of them will take it to the grave with them, convinced that theirs is The Ultimate In Brownie Recipes. And, I confess, I am one of those people. I’ve been using the same recipe for about 12 years. It’s my go to recipe for the classic Hen Weekend Recipe Book and many people have requested to have it, after tasting the brownies. (Thankfully I’m not one of those ‘take it to my grave’ people. The recipe wasn’t even mine in the first place).

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An open letter to McVitie’s

Dear McVitie’s,

I think you are fabulous. You create two of my favourite biscuits: the chocolate hobnob with all its crumbly oaty chocolatey goodness; and the chocolate caramel digestive, which is decadently gooey, tasty and crunchy.

I have a suggestion for you, which I think could make you very rich indeed (richer than you already are, of course). Introducing the love child of these two most excellent biscuits: The Chocolate Caramel Hobnob. Seriously, why does it not exist?! What’s not to love? I’ve been talking about this for years (amongst other things) and I believe the time has finally come to bring this wonderful idea to your attention.

I would, of course, be willing to help out with any taste testings.

Yours Sincerely,

Katherine

PS – everyone I have mentioned this to thinks it’s a great idea: the nation is right behind you!