The aim of this challenge is to try out new and different recipes, so some of you may be wondering why I opted for chocolate brownies this week. Let’s face it, there are plenty of much more outlandish, elaborate, exciting recipes out there than good ol’ chocolate brownies. But the thing is, I was given this recipe by a colleague a while ago, after sampling the most amazing chocolate brownie made following this recipe. Indulgent, gooey in all the right places… it. was. perfection. So, I stored it in my recipe bank and intended to make it but never got round to it, which was why it was my perfect choice for the letter ‘C’.
This week’s baking experience, however, was less than perfect to begin with. I decided to bake the brownies to take into work on Friday because it was my birthday on Saturday, so I thought that I would take the brownies in as a pre-birthday treat for everyone. Arriving home later than expected on Thursday and with limited time to bake before heading out again, I set about creating the brownies.
I was feeling tense, stress and against the clock from the second I started baking, so I just knew something had to give. I didn’t read the recipe through before beginning as I was in a rush, so I read the line in the method that stated: ‘Mix together all dry ingredients and then place to one side’ and dutifully weighed and mixed the plain flour, cocoa powder and sugar together. Then, I followed the next instruction below, which read: ‘Cream room temperature butter (bar 2 tbsp) and sugar together. Once white and fluffy beat in one egg at a time until combined.’
‘WTF!’ I thought. ‘I’ve already mixed the sugar in with the blimmin’ dry ingredients and I don’t have enough ingredients to start all over again. Nor do I have time to go out to the shop for more!’ After much cursing under my breath, I had a quick word with myself. I do not want to fail on my baking challenge, nor did I want to let my colleagues down the next day and turn up to work empty handed, so I decided – rightly or wrongly – to mix the small amount of brown sugar I had left in the cupboard in with the butter. I didn’t weigh it but there wasn’t much there.
I was even more of a grumpy mood now, inwardly berating myself for being such a stress head and letting things get to me, and as I added in the eggs and saw them curdling with the butter and bit of sugar, my mood worsened. Nonetheless, I plugged on and managed to get the brownie mixture in the oven on time, not before burning my hand on the oven shelf because I was in a rush and didn’t bother to put the oven gloves on. I deserved that one.
It was then when the brownies were in the oven that I realised I had completely forgotten to add the buttermilk I had bought! (What else am I going to use it for before it goes off?!) I definitely didn’t hold out much hope of these brownies turning out to be edible and was fully preparing myself for heading to the supermarket on the way to work to pick up cake for everyone.
Lo and behold however, the brownies came out of the oven and apart from the edges, which were slightly tough, it turned out lovely – albeit super sweet, probably down to the extra sugar I added! I was joyous, I was relieved, and I decided to chop them into small squares because the sweetness of them all meant that you really didn’t need a slab.
I took the cakes to work on Friday and they were happily demolished by my colleagues. Despite my best efforts, the brownies ended up not exactly being made with love, but they sure did turn out damn tasty. I’ll definitely make them again, but I will go into it with a clearer head and more time next time!
The recipe is very easy to follow if you follow it correctly and, as I found out, even if you don’t follow it correctly, you’re still in with a fighting chance of a good brownie.
The low point was the error in the method ordering in the recipe, which I have corrected below. The other low point was my mood and my burnt hand!
Here’s the recipe I followed, along with my notes:
- 185g unsalted butter
- 160g dark chocolate
- 85g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 280g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs (I used 4 medium eggs)
- ¼ cup buttermilk (which I think is about 60ml? Do check, though!) I forgot to put this in, in my made baking rush, but it didn’t seem to affect the overall outcome!
- 100g chocolate chips
Optional Secret Ingredients That Make It Better!
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup – I DID add this!
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – DID add this!
- 20-30g hot chocolate powder – I didn’t add this.
- 50g chopped nuts or dried fruit – I didn’t add this.
- 20ml oil (on top of butter) – I didn’t add this.
- ¼ tsp salt – I didn’t add this.
- 1 teaspoon coffee (mix in with other wet ingredients) – I didn’t add this.
- Marshmallows – I didn’t add this.
- Grease tins and line with greaseproof paper.
- Preheat oven to 180˚C or 160˚C in a fan assisted oven.
- Cream room temperature butter (bar 2 tbsp) and sugar together. Once white and fluffy beat in one egg at a time until combined.
- Mix together all remaining dry ingredients and then place to one side.
- Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp butter either over simmering water or in the microwave and add into the butter/sugar mix once cooled slightly.
- Add in any wet ingredients.
- Mix once more and then sift in the dry ingredients and whisk together.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour into tins and bake from 20-35 minutes, checking every 10 minutes. They should still be soft and gooey in the middle and not completely cooked.
- If you want to add marshmallows to the top cover the now cooked brownie with marshmallows and place the tin under the grill for a few seconds. Once they are browned take them out and wait for them to cool and cut.
- ***It will be very sticky when you try to cut the brownie because of the mallows. In a plate or bowl next to you mix 3tbsp icing sugar and 1tbsp corn flour. Dust the knife after every cut to help cut the brownie.***