I am not a brownie baker. I am not a brownie eater. Oh, oh, this all sounds so very wrong, doesn’t it? Let me explain: I have never attempted to cook brownies because … well, because, I love brownies so much I can’t stop eating them once I start. So basically I don’t make brownies, because then I would (have to) eat all the brownies. Sort of applying the motto: out of sight, out of mind.
Then of course, the BrownieBabe event came along in the food blogosphere. The best (?) opportunity to face my fears, both of making brownies and the calories that come with them. I doubt there has ever been a ‘light’ brownie version, but in for 1 brownie, in for them all.
Brownie inspiration was on hand with the newest Jamie Oliver ‘Cook‘ book. I don’t think he is considered to be a brownie king, but then again I had to start somewhere. Plus I have sort of recently bought the book and besides the occasional chicken or pasta recipe, I haven’t yet really used ‘Cook’. And wouldn’t you know it? Fifteen Brownies, right there on page no. 384
I loved our Fifteen experience, so some trustworthy precedent was there. Which is why I liked the look of the Fifteen Brownie right away. This is where, I the non-brownie-cook, the non-brownie-eater, got brownie-cooking.
Fifteen Brownies (makes 8-10)
250gr/9oz unsalted butter
200gr/7oz best quality dark chocolate (I used Cote d’Or 85%), broken up
optional: 150gr/5oz dried sour cherries
optional 150gr/5oz chopped nuts
80gr/2 3/4oz cocoa powder, sifted
65gr/2 1/4oz plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
350gr/12 1/2oz caster sugar
4 large free range eggs
optional: zest of 1 orange
optional: 250ml/9fl oz creme fraiche
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350F/gas 4. Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the cherries and nuts (I only used cherries), and stir together. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar. Add this to the chocolate and cherry mixture. Stir together very well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.
Pour your brownie mixture into the baking tin, and place in the oven for around 25min. You don’t want to overcook the brownies so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy, but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares. (Serve with creme fraiche mixed with some orange zest – again, due to potential sugar overdose or heart attack we skipped this step).
I wonder what there is left to say. That it was brownie-love at first sight? That they were delicious? That for a first attempt they were melt-in-your-mouth decadence. That I could easily envisage myself enjoying a brownie like this every day, for the rest of my life. That I have an order to cook the same brownies next week as well? Oh brownie, I heart you.