Friday, 9 July 2010

Deepest, Darkest Brownies for a Saturday Night

Last Friday, it seemed no one could get enough of the desserts at the restaurant - we ran out of the June special - a layered fool of gooseberries, elderflower and vanilla - and of the dreaded chocolate cake as well. Of course, I don't mean the chocolate cake is awful in any way. I just have a teeny-weeny problem with it because it is the only food in the whole restaurant that we buy in and this despresses me. I really want to do EVERYTHING myself. My constant complaints that the chocolate cake is not homemade are prehaps finally wearing L down and he has started to consider the idea of a homemade brownie on the dessert list. I'd do a chocolate cake, but they don't stay moist for long and I'm convinced that a brownie would be far more popular and I'd be able to play around with fruit and nut flavour combinations.

I love this recipe. It's a Jamie Oliver one. I don't really rate him as a baker - not everyone can just throw some flour, sugar, butter and eggs into a KitchenAid alla Nigella, and have a cake ready half an hour later - so I was surprised when this recipe worked. On Saturday evening, our customers enjoyed a Macadamia and Sour Cherry Chocolate Brownie that was as dense and moist as a wet teabag (sounds pleasant doesn't it?) and as rich and dark as a really good espresso. We served a small stack of them with some of my (homemade) vanilla ice cream.  

Chocolate Brownies (makes enough for 10 people)
250g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces - 70% cocoa solids is best
150g dried sour cherries
150g macadamia nuts
80g cocoa powder, sifted
65g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
350g golden caster sugar
4 large free range eggs
1 zested orange
Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Line the base of a 30cm baking tin or brownie tray with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth, stirring occasionally.
Add the cherries, nuts and orange zest and mix in well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, flour, baking powder and sugar.
Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and stir together well.
Lightly beat the eggs in another bowl and mix into the chocolate mixture until you have a silky consistency.
Pour the borwnie mix into the prepared baking tray and place into the oven for around 30mins.
Brownies don't like being overcooked so don't worry if a cake skewer doesn't come out clean. They should be springy on the outside with a few cracks, but still slightly gooey in the middle.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tray.
When you are ready to serve, transfer them to a board and cut into little stackable squares.

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