Tag Archives: chocolate

Brownies 2.0

Happy Bank Holiday weekend!

I decided to spend a little time in the kitchen this weekend and wanted to make something a bit different… But I completely failed to decide what. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? Biscuits? Pie? Anyway, I ran through the entire cookbook library and just couldn’t decide what to make. And then I remembered a picture that somehow ended up in my twitter feed of a brownie with an oreo cookie baked into the centre and it just sounded too good to pass up… And then I thought about splitting the mix – half blondie, half brownie with oreos in the middle. Now we’re onto something…

I love brownies (and my mum makes the world’s best ones) but I also love a blondie – I’ve made the gingerbread-spiced ones from Edd Kimber’s The Boy Who Bakes quite a few times and they are fab – really squidgy and chewy. So combining the two can’t be a bad thing, right? As Mae West said – Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. And who am I to refuse la West?

One thing that can be difficult with brownies is getting the texture right – often they can be too cakey and fluffy or so gooey they don’t actually bear their own weight… They need to have some structure but also have a degree of damp softness. The difference is in the beating – if you work the mix, you’ll start to develop the gluten and get more structure but if you prefer a gooier affair, just gently fold until the mixture combines and no more…

Anyway – I have since found out that what I’ve made is a variation on what is called a ‘slutty brownie’ (a true SB is made with packet mixes – cookie and fudge brownie) but I’m really pleased with this brownie/blondie version even though it needs marginally more work than making up mixes… But it’s actually super easy. I used half-quantities of some go-to recipes, hence the weird quantities of ingredients. Makes a 9″ square pan but if you double up, it’d make a roasting dish worth, I should think.

Two-tone brownies

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For the blondie layer:

  • 113g butter
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g plain flour
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

For the brownie layer:

  • 63g butter
  • 160g dark chocolate
  • 13g cocoa powder
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • 130g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs plus an extra yolk
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g white chocolate, 40g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Plus a pack of oreos – original, chocolate, double stuffed… Whatever, darling.

You could make both layers at once if you’re more organised and dextrous than I am but I made the brownie one first, put it in the tin and then made the blondie and combined them. But whatever you think most sensible.

First though, butter and line a 9″ square baking tin and preheat the oven to 180C (fan).

For the brownie layer:

Melt the butter together with the dark chocolate and the cocoa in a saucepan and whisk together oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a bowl until well-combined. Add the rest of the ingredients to the whisked mixture and fold to combine and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Pour this into the bottom of your roasting dish and place the oreos on top in a regular fashion – you should hopefully be able to fit them all in! If not, just eat the remaining ones as you go, I won’t tell anyone.

For the blondie layer:

Again, melt the butter and when melted, add the sugar, stirring constantly, until combined. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes and then add the eggs and fold in the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the chocolate and pour over the top of the oreos/brownies. It might need a little coaxing to get it into the corners but it will hopefully cover it all!

Bake for about 30 minutes but do have a look after 25 or so. If you poke a skewer into the middle it should be wet with crumbs clinging on, but not totally liquid, if that makes sense… It’ll solidify as it cools so definitely err on the side of gooey. As if I needed to tell you that.

Leave it for a good while to cool down and firm up before cutting into squares – makes around 25 mini- or 16 regular-sized portions (but, frankly, a mini one might be a better idea as they are very sweet and rich! Pace yourself and have two.)

Enjoy!

x

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Chocolate and almond biscotti

I decided on a whim to attempt these this afternoon – we had just enjoyed an iced coffee and a simply enormous chocolate croissant at a café in Kew this afternoon and I was feeling inspired to make something a bit Italian – so I channeled my inner Nigellissima-era Nigella Lawson and gave these a try.

Not nearly as complicated as I had initially thought, as it turns out. Rather faff-free biccies (if one ignores the whole cut-into-slices-and-bake-again bit… But that’s not too bad, really). You just whip eggs and sugar into a frenzy, fold in some flour and bicarb and whatever flavourings you fancy and away you go. Almost all the recipes I found online used a pitiful-sounding few grammes of nuts or chocolate so I’ve beefed this up to 50g of each. Come on… One could lose 25g of almonds in an eye and barely notice.

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Chocolate and Almond Biscotti 

  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g of almonds (whole, not flaked, ground or otherwise)
  • 50g of dark chocolate (you could probably use chips here)
  • Flavouring – zest of an orange or a lemon would be nice (probably optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 C (fan oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment. Roughly chop the almonds and chocolate and put to one side. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and whisk (I used an electric hand mixer) until light and fluffy. Measure out the flour and bicarb and sieve into the egg mixture, throw in the nuts and chocolate and the zest and fold in until combined – it’ll be a sticky-ish dough.

Plonk onto a floured surface and roll into a sausage just shorter than your baking sheet and flatten out a bit and transfer to the tray. Bake for about half an hour or until lightly browned – it’ll swell up a bit but don’t be alarmed. Once it’s got this far, lift out to a chopping board and slice diagonally into 1cm-thick slices. Reduce the temperature of the oven to about 140C and place the sliced biscuits back on the baking tray (sliced side up) and bake for a second time to crisp up. Turn over after about 10 minutes and bake for another 5 minutes or so until nice and crisp on both sides and then place on a wire rack to cool.

Buon appetito!

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