The BEST Brownie I have ever tasted. Ever.

Yes ok, thats a little bit of a boastful title, but I take no credit for the creation of this beautiful batch of brownies, apart from the fact that I made them… I discovered the recipe originally on http://www.browneyedbaker.com, who in turn got it from ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Baking’ by Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis.

Now, I’ve been having a bit of an issue in my search for the perfect brownie, in that I just couldn’t get any right. Pretty much every single one I tried, ended up being a bit of a nightmare. I knew what I was looking for; in Swansea theres a place called the One Shoe Cafe, and the brownies they sell there are spectacular. As I no longer live in Swansea I knew I had to find something that could match the greatness of those brownies. And so, when I saw this particular recipe, I knew it had to go on the list to try. I bookmarked it and then forgot about it. For months. Then, last Wednesday I stumbled upon it again and knew I couldn’t forget about it again. As soon as I had obtained the 310g (!) of chocolate needed to go into it, they were being made.

I think its fair to say that these are some pretty sexy brownies – extremely rich, moist, crackly on top, chocolatey squares of yumminess, ideal when eaten warm out of the oven, but just as perfect when cold. Yes, yes, they aren’t on the list of my healthiest baking options, so you may want to have somewhere convenient to send them straight away; I packed them off to work with David and apparently I’m quite popular in his office now. My search for the perfect brownie is finally over!

The Baked Brownie

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/10/08/the-baked-brownie/

My recipe is pretty faithful to the original, with only one or two changes – the original calls for a teaspoon of instant espresso powder to go in with the melted chocolate, but I didn’t have any so left it out.

You will need:

  • 1¼ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I had to use some milk chocolate, about a 5th, as I ran out of dark!)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and prepare your pan. Grease a 9×13 dish/baking pan and line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together and put to one side.

3. Put the chocolate and butter into a large bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water until it has melted and combined together. Take off the heat, but keep over the water and add the sugars. Whisk together and leave until room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mix and whisk until combined. Add the other 2 eggs and whisk together. Add the vanilla and stir in. Be careful not to whisk too much at this stage or it may become a bit cakey.

5. Fold in the flour mixture using a spatula, until all but a small amount of flour has been mixed in.

6. Pour the batter into your prepared dish and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 mins. I was really nervous that I would overdo the brownies so from 25 mins I was checking them every few mins, but I found they weren’t done until about 35 mins. The brownies should be ready when the mix no longer wobbles and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs still sticking to it.

7. Let cool completely and cut into squares and serve. Or if you’re like me, let cool for 10 minutes and then dive right in and eat a large, still very warm piece with a great big dollop of ice cream. Nom.

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Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Pudding

I realised a while ago that I hadn’t posted in some time, but for some reason I was waiting for a really good recipe to spur me on. Yesterday I discovered the most perfect Brownie recipe and I knew I had to post it. Unfortunately for you, I haven’t taken a decent picture of them yet, so for now I shall reveal my gluten free adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Toffee Pudding.

My brother, Christian, came back from his GRSP year in Georgia last week and I asked him what he wanted me to make him for dessert on his first night back. I was shocked and appalled to hear that he’d had enough junk food and didn’t fancy anything. Wha?! Didn’t he even fancy something traditionally british, like sticky toffee pudding?! Well it turned out that yes, yes he did fancy sticky toffee pudding. So then I had to go and find a recipe to attempt, as I’d never actually made it before…whoops!

As I was at my parents house, I decided to go for a gluten free option, as my Mum is allergic to wheat, and my sister tries to avoid it too. I decided to adapt Jamie Oliver’s recipe from his website and it was pretty good! Its more cakey than pudding-y, but with plenty of toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream, it is pretty damn tasty.

Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Pudding

Adapted from: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/other-recipes/sticky-toffee-pudding

• 225g dried dates (fresh are used in the original recipe)
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 85g unsalted softened butter
• 170g caster sugar
• 3 large free-range eggs
• 170g gluten free self-raising flour (I used Doves)
• ¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

for the toffee sauce
• 115g unsalted butter
• 115g light brown sugar
• 140ml double cream

1.Preheat oven to 180ºC. Soak dates in 200ml boiling water with bicarbonate of soda. Stand for a few minutes and then drain. Put the dates into a food processor and blend to a paste.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the eggs, flour, mixed spice, and cinnamon. Mix well and then fold in the yoghurt and pureed dates.

3. You can use a 9×13 baking dish/pan here, but I went for two loaf pans as that was what I had on hand. Cut some baking paper to shape, place at the bottom of your chosen tin and butter up the sides. You don’t need to use baking paper but I find it makes getting things out of pans much, much easier. Put the mixture into your prepared pans and bake for 30-35 mins. The pudding will be ready when a toothpick inserted still has sticky crumbs on it when pulled out.

At this point I let the cakes cool down and and put them in the fridge overnight. I was making dinner and dessert the next day and knew I’d be limited on time. You can do this if making ahead, if not just move right onto the next step! If you decide to make it the day before, then make sure you reheat it in the oven for 5-10 mins.

4. Next, make the toffee sauce. Put the butter, brown sugar and double cream into a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and it has a thicker texture and darker colour. I found the best way to judge this was to take it off the heat every minute or so while stirring to see how it was coming along (I was using what seemed to be a nuclear hob though, so you might not need to take this advice!)

5. Remove your cake/pudding from its tin/pan/dish, peel off the baking paper and flip it back over. Use a toothpick to make lots of holes across it for the sauce to sink into. Pour the toffee sauce across the top and leave for a minute or so – the sauce will start to cool and get really sticky at this point.

6. Serve up however you like, but I do suggest eating with copious amounts of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!