Best brownies ever...

Well it's been an embarrassingly long time since my last journal post, despite best intentions and almost constant nagging from our tech support guru.  Christmas has long gone, and (whisper it), there's signs of spring on the horizon.  We've been coming out of hibernation since the Christmas break, with a couple of recent markets and fairs, and it's been really lovely to get back out again to chat to people over some yummy cake.

One of our most popular treats whenever we're at a market is the F&G brownie.  Brownies should be rich and gooey, and these definitely deliver a proper chocolate hit.  Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe (the original recipe isn't online, but it's from How To Be a Domestic Goddess), this recipe is straightforward but tastes fabulous.  In fact, they're too good not to share, so I'm going to give you the recipe!

This recipe makes a big batch, perfect for parties, but you can half all the quantities and use a smaller tin if you like.  The espresso powder is optional – you can’t taste coffee in the finished brownies, but it really helps to bring out the rich chocolate flavour.

Ingredients

375g soft unsalted butter

375g good quality dark chocolate, broken in to pieces

6 large eggs, at room temparature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500g caster sugar

220g plain flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

Rectangular brownie tin, 33 x 23 x 5cm, greased and lined with baking parchment

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 C / 165 fan assisted / gas mark 4.  In a large heavy based pan, melt together the butter and chocolate, and set aside to cool slightly.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and espresso powder, if using.

When the chocolate mixture has melted and cooled slightly, add the eggs and sugar mixture and beat to combine, then add the flour mixture and beat to combine until smooth and there are no lumps or pockets of flour.  Scrape out of the saucepan and in to the brownie tin.

Bake for around 25 minutes.  When it’s ready, the top should look dry and pale with some speckles, but the middle should still have a bit of wobble.  Allow to cool completely in the tin before cutting in to squares. You'll get around 18 decent sized brownies, or more if you cut in to smaller pieces.

Variations – try adding teaspoons of caramel or peanut butter to the brownie mix when it’s in the tin, and swirl through with a skewer or knife.  Or add 300g chopped walnuts or hazelnuts to the mixture when you add the flour.