I am on a quest to find the perfect brownie recipe. It’s got to be simple, without a whole bunch of ingredients and it especially cannot have any nuts in it. I know I can leave them out, but the idea that someone thought they ought to be in the brownies is a good sign that the recipe isn’t going to be right for me. When they’re baked, they should be a little squidgy in the middle but the outside edges need to be crisp. And they have to be the most chocolatey tasting square ever.
This recipe is from a book called Comfort Food. Look at the cover! Wouldn’t you buy that?
It’s a re-purposing of material that had been published in the BBC Good Food Magazine. Which means that all the measures were British. It’s a drag to have to translate them into Canadian. Was it worth the trouble?
I enlisted the help of my measuring ducks.
The duck family.
A mound of chopped chocolate.
Butter and chocolate, melted:
Chocolate and butter, melted.
Eggs, all beaten:
Brown sugar, not muscovado.
Eggs and sugar:
Beaten eggs and sugar.
Butter, sugar and chocolate mixture:
Beaten eggs with some of the chocolate, looking artistically marbled.
All the ingredients, including my special secret addition, espresso powder:
Chocolate/sugar mixture with the dry ingredients.
Ready for baking:
Brownies, ready to get baked.
Sadly, I am still on the hunt for the best brownie recipe ever. While these tasted all right, they were crumbly, so messy to eat and definitely not squidgy or fudgy. And no insight was gained on why they were named “toffee” brownies. Both the ducks and I are disappointed.
225g / 8 oz unsalted butter, in pieces, plus more for greasing
300 g / 10 oz dark chocolate (preferably around 50-60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
3 large eggs
225 g / 8 oz dark muscovado sugar
100 g / 4 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 or 2 drops of vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 160C / 325F and butter and line the base of a shallow 23cm / 9 inch square tin.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate together (you can do this in a microwave, it takes about 2 minutes), then stir well and cool slightly.
3. Beat the eggs until pale, then whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy and well combined. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture, then sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the vanilla extract. Stir gently until smooth.
4. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Test by inserting a wooden cocktail stick into the middle – there should be a few moist crumbs sticking to it. The mixture will still be soft in the centre, but will firm up on cooling.
5. Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for at least an hour – if you can resist the temptation to eat them – then cut into 16 squares and allow to cool completely in the rack.