It's been a great couple of weeks in the Bake Off, as Amy has chosen some fantastic chocolate recipes from Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes. Although I made last week's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake, I didn't enter it. Not because it was a disaster (it was incredibly delicious though very rich - Josh has been able to eek it out all week as he only needs a little piece to get his daily chocolate fix!), but I simply ran out of time. So this week, I decided to get my skates on and make the bake early. Particularly as it's brownies. Yes. Brownies. Those dark, fudgey, chocolatey little bites of heaven. But for me, this week was an experiment.
You see, I already have a fantastic brownie recipe. It's been made countless times and been played around with to give an endless variety of treats. (Have I ever mentioned Maya Gold in brownies? Yes? Well I'll have to post about them someday soon because they are amazing - like some sort of out of body experience!). The thing with my brownie recipe is that it does not contain nuts. Nuts are a bit of a tricky line to tread with Josh and Ben. Sometimes they like them, other times you would have to indulge in some kind of inhumane torture to get them past their lips. So I was a bit wary about the walnut content of these. For that reason, I reduced the amount to 100g of walnuts from the 175g given in the recipe.
However, I was wrong to worry. Although the walnuts were viewed with some suspicion, they were pronounced 'Seriously Good Brownies' and requested again, which is pretty much the highest accolade the boys ever bestow. Although Ben has pondered suggestively that they might taste even better without the walnuts. He's a bit crafty that way ...
Dark Indulgent Chocolate and Walnut Brownies (from Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes)
350g plain chocolate (39% cocoa)
2 level tspn instant coffee powder
2 tbspn just boiled water
3 large eggs
225g caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
75g self-raising flour
100g chopped walnuts
225g chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 170 Fan / 190 conventional / Gas 5.
Grease and baseline a 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 inch) traybake tin.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt, with the butter, in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Cool.
Add the water to the coffee and stir to dissolve.
In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and smooth (I used a hand mixer for this), then add the coffee and vanilla.
Stir in the chocolate mixture until incorporated.
Add the flour, walnuts and chocolate chips, and fold well to combine. Pour the mix into the prepared tray and level the top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. The brownies should have a papery top. Leave them to cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into squares (MB says this should make 24 - maybe, but not in my world where 18 was a bit more like it!).
As I sometimes find the temperatures and timings given in recipes a bit hit and miss for my oven, I began testing mine after about 35 minutes. At this point, they were fairly crusty around the edges of the tin (maybe even a tad overdone), but with still a little way to go in the middle (although with brownies you want them that way as they will continue to cook a little in the tin while cooling, and you don't want overdone, dry brownies!). I did let them go for a few minutes more, so eventually mine were in for about 41 minutes. Once I'd left them to cool and then cut them, the edges were definitely dry and a little overcooked, but the ones in the middle were perfect. If (what do I mean if?) I make them again, I'll drop the oven temperature a little to 160 - 165 Fan and see how that goes).
Anyway, Josh Ben and Mike have sure enjoyed them. They have taken to warming their brownies slightly in the microwave - 20 seconds is all - so that they are slightly warm and the gooeyness factor is ratcheted up again. I prefer them as is. But, hey, either way, you can't go wrong with brownies! Right?