Last Wednesday was a bit warmer than it has been of late, so I took Sam for a walk to the village in his pushchair. We stopped at our local deli (Deli a Go Go), ordered a coffee and a hazelnut brownie, and sat in the window watching the world go by. Sam and I did a bit of pondering. We pondered how we were going to feel when I return to work at the end of my maternity leave. The weeks are going by fast, and I am now able to count on one hand the weeks I have left. It's not so much the going back to work, more the having to entrust Sam to some one else's care. Sam thought that it wouldn't be so bad, as he has some lovely people taking care of him. They make funny noises and faces and make him laugh. They give him cuddles when he's sad, and they play when he wants to have fun. They feed him and soothe him to sleep when it's nap time.
While it makes me happy knowing that he will be well looked after, it breaks my heart that it won't be me doing it. That there are 'firsts' I'll miss, and will have to rely on someone else to tell me about them. That when he comes home at the end of the day, he smells of someone else's perfume or shampoo where his head has rested on their shoulder. I'm feeling particularly melancholic as it's my birthday the next day, when I will turn 44. It reinforces that this is my last opportunity to enjoy being a mummy to a little one. As we ponder, I sip my coffee and nibble pieces of brownie. I've only just made walnut brownies for the Weekly Bake Off, so I should be sick of them. But the hazelnut tastes sooo good.
Ingredients (makes 16)
185g unsalted butter
185g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
85g plain flour
50g dark chocolate, chopped
50g milk chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
275g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 conventional / 350 C /Gas 4. Grease and base line a 20 x 20cm square brownie pan (use a 7 - 8 cm wide band of foil across the base under the parchment so that it sticks up 5cm from the rim on each side of the pan - this will mean you have something to help you lift the cooked brownie out of the tin).
Break the dark chocolate into chunks. Cut the butter into squares and place in a bowl, with the chocolate, over a small saucepan of simmering water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl as it will burn the chocolate). Melt gently and then remove form the heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk until pale, creamy and doubled in size. The mix should leave a trail for a few seconds if you lift the beaters out.
Add the cooled chocolate to the egg and sugar mix, and gently fold in.
Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture, and again, gently fold in.
Once just combined, add the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts. Gently fold in
Turn the mix out into the prepared pan and level the top - gently easing the mix into the corners. Place in the middle of the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes. The top of the brownie should look papery and the edges should be just coming away from the tin.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin until completely cold. Remove from the tin and slice into 16 squares.
These brownies are incredibly chocolately, fudgey and moist, with the hazelnuts giving just the right amount of crunch and nuttiness. While they won't solve all the problems in front of you, they might just make the pondering of them a little less painful.
As this months Alphabakes letter is 'H', I am going to enter them into Ros, of The More Than Occasional Baker, and Caroline, of Caroline Makes challenge. This month it is hosted by Caroline, so why not pop over to her blog after 25 May to see the round up of entries.
In the meantime, as I want to enjoy my last few weeks at home with Sam and then while I settle back into work, while I'm not taking a total break from blogging, I may be here a bit more sporadically than usual. And focusing on some simpler recipes (apart from one which I'm planning ;) !). I hope you'll excuse me.