Looks like the world got carried away with cupcakes (ahem, fairy cakes!) and then macaroons and friands or financiers or whatever baked confection is in the top spot these days. We forgot about the brownies.
Well brownies I certainly didn’t forget about you my chocolatey friend. I have been quietly mixing you up and baking you and appreciating your gooey loveliness. Any vehicle for chocolate has my vote.
Maybe I am a one woman brownie appreciation society although I could be fooled into thinking otherwise as there are approximately 1,000,000 recipes for brownies on the interwebs. Some just plain ol’ chocolate, others with nuts, salted caramel, a blondie? (nope not for me I’m afraid) and so on. You see the humble brownie much like myself is open to ideas, variations, experimentation.
I usually make a Baileys brownie. Heaven. I sometimes add chopped nuts to it, maybe a shot of espresso too. It can get pretty wild around here. This variation has pistachios and smoked sea salt. I am quite partial to a salty sweet taste hit. I put malteasers into my popcorn. I told you, wild! It works though. Cuts through the sweetness of the chocolate and adds to the flavour of the pistachios. Something different and we all need to be shaken up every now and then.
What you need is a great basic brownie recipe and after that the world is your lobster. Add whatever your heart desires.
Brownies (Makes 24)
375g dark chocolate or a mix of dark and milk if you prefer
375g butter chopped up
500g caster sugar (yes you read that right!)
6 free range eggs
275g plain flour sifted
50g cocoa sifted
As mentioned above a single shot of espresso really adds to the chocolate flavour but it can be omitted
(Any flavour you like: some orange zest, chopped nuts, 50mls baileys or frangelico, salted caramel, some raspberries, coconut, vanilla etc. etc.)
For these brownies I used 150g pistachios and 1 & 1/2 tsp of smoked sea salt.
Heat oven to 160 conventional 180 fan. Grease and line a swiss roll tin.
Heat a small amount of water in a saucepan and place broken up chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl that fits over saucepan but doesn’t touch the water. Once the water comes to the boil turn off the heat and leave butter and chocolate to melt. Stir occasionally.
In the meantime place eggs and sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer or if you don’t have one use a hand mixer. We will be beating the eggs and sugar for at least 10 minutes so unless you are built like Popeye you will need a little mechanical help here. Beat eggs and sugar for at least 10 minutes or until they are pale, thick and mousse like.
Once chocolate and butter is melted remove the bowl from over the saucepan and leave to cool for a few minutes. Roughly chop the pistachios or blitz in a food processor if you have one.
Add a small amount of the cooled chocolate to the egg mixture and fold into it. Then add the rest of the chocolate mixture and fold in. Add flour, cocoa and fold in. Finally add the pistachios and 1 tsp of smoked sea salt.
Pour the mix into prepared tin. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt over the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. A papery skin will form on top and there will be a slight wobble when cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. You can freeze these once baked. Once defrosted warm them through in the oven for a few minutes.
Cut into squares and enjoy!