Chocolate brownies are a sort of urbane comfort food. There is something so sophisticated about their deep brown colour and rich velvety taste. They certainly reign supreme as the emperor of traybakes, and are accorded much respect in my household.
The perfect brownie should have a thin, crumbly crust on top, and underneath should be soft and gooey. In order to achieve this consistency, it is imperative that you avoid over-baking them. If baked for too long, they loose their soft stodginess, and become a hard, chocolate sponge.
My favourite recipe for these delightful treats is taken from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. So regularly used is my copy of this cook book, that it is starting to become tattered around the edges. If you are a fan of baking, or looking for some new ideas, then I would highly recommend it, as it showcases some fantastic hearty, American-style bakes.
- 200g dark, chopped chocolate
- 175g unsalted butter
- 325g caster sugar
- 130g plain flour
- 3 eggs
A greased, lined baking tray, approx. 33 x 23 cm, with at least 5cm sides.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees, or Gas 3.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Keep an eye on this, as chocolate burns easily. Stir regularly, and don’t let the water simmer too violently.
- Once the mixture has melted, take it off the heat, and stir in the sugar until it is all incorporated.
- Next add the flour gradually, and stir until it is all mixed in. At this point, the mixture will be very thick and grainy. Don’t worry, it will loosen up with the eggs.
- Stir in the eggs until smooth.
- Spoon or pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray, smoothing over the top with a palette knife. Wipe away any excess mixture from around the sides of the tin, as this will burn easily in the oven.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. I would take it out at 30 mins to look at, and if there is a light crust on the top then it’s probably done. It should be gooey inside. Ensure that you remove from the oven before the sides start to go hard and crunchy, as this will result in an overdone brownie that will have lost its soft consistency.
- Leave to cool in the tin completely, before turning out and cutting into pieces. It will harden up a little as it cools.
- Dust with a little icing sugar to decorate.
These brownies are, of course, only to be eaten as a treat, because the amount of sugar in them makes them exceedingly naughty – unfortunately for me this only adds to their appeal.