Chocolate and vanilla Congo brownies for English Dad’s birthday

So you know the rules, then… every birthday person at English Towers gets to choose their own birthday cake.  This time, however, we were going to dinner at Glam C’s and I needed something that would work well feeding a crowd too so the Hubster let me choose, bless him.

I looked through my recipe books and found a ‘Congo Brownie’ recipe by Flo Braker and this is an adaptation of that recipe.  As far as I can work out, the Congo bar part of it is the white layer – often called blondies and made with nuts, but if any of you can shed light on the name, I’d be delighted to know more!

I’ve split the ingredients and methods up.  If you want to have a go at just making the Congo bars, I’d suggest doubling up the quantities and baking for 30 mins in total.

For the Congo bar layer:

85g butter – I use salted with chocolate

225g golden caster sugar

2 free range eggs (1 whole egg, 1 white – save the yolk and bung it in with the brownie)

1 tsp vanilla

175g self raising flour

For the chocolate brownie layer:

200g dark chocolate

170g butter (again, add a pinch of salt if using unsalted)

3 free range eggs

200g soft brown sugar (caster is fine if you don’t have any)

110g plain flour

So preheat your oven to gas 4/180 and butter a square tin/lasagne dish/whatever you have.

Melt the butter gently in a pan and set aside to cool.  Whisk together the sugar, egg, egg white and vanilla then stir in the cooled butter. Sift in the flour, stir gently and spread evenly in the bottom of the baking tin.

Pop it in the oven for a scant 15 minutes so that it’s just set.

Meanwhile make the chocolate brownie layer: 

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain-marie (basically, a heatproof bowl (so not a plastic one) over a saucepan of just-simmering water – don’t let the bottom of the bowl come into contact with water).  Turn the water off when it’s just bubbling and stir the mixture gently until it’s combined.  Take it off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together (plop in the extra yolk here) until pale, light and frothy.  There is no raising agent in brownies, so the air whisked in at this stage will stop them being a big chocolate brick.

Pour in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture and stir well.  Lastly, add in the flour and stir briefly until the flour disappears.

Now pour the brownie mixture over the Congo layer.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is cracked and shiny.  The centre should still be slightly soft and squidgy.

Finally, I melted a small bar of milk chocolate and spread it over the top of the cake.

Sadly, there were no number 8 candles left, so for the purposes of this dinner party, Hubby had to be 49.  He didn’t mind. Especially when Glam C served up the most amazing chilli and the most delicious creamy raspberry cheesecake you’ve ever seen: