There’s no getting away from it: brownies are yummy. They’re also incredibly easy to make with basic ‘store cupboard’ ingredients. I make these at least once a week, if not more, and their gorgeous, slightly squidgy fudginess is just perfect as an afternoon treat or poshed up with some whipped cream as an easy dessert. Here’s how it’s done.
A word about chocolate
Firstly, a little note about chocolate. Don’t, whatever you do, use cooking chocolate. In fact, don’t EVER use it for anything, it’s poo. Having said that, you don’t need to spend a fortune either. Purists will recommend 70% dark chocolate, and yes that gives a lovely result, but I always keep a couple of bars of Bourneville in the cupboard, and I find it the perfect dark chocolate for cooking: not too bitter, but full of flavour.
Right, then. On to the recipe:
How to make chocolate brownies:
You will need:
200g dark chocolate
170g salted butter (or add a pinch of salt if using unsalted)
3 free range eggs (room temperature is always better)
200g soft brown sugar (caster is fine if you don’t have any)
110g plain flour
So firstly, assemble all your ingredients together, and preheat the oven to gas 4/180 degrees.
Step one: 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 (if you pour very hot chocolate into the eggy mixture, you risk getting blobs of scrambled egg in your brownies. Ick).
Step two: meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together 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.
Step three: pour in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture and stir well.
Step four: lastly, add in the flour and any extras you’re adding (nuts… raisins… smarties… whatever, see below). Stir briefly until the flour disappears.
I use a square silicone cake ‘tin’, given a little spritz of cake release spray, but any square or rectangular tin will do. Make sure you line it very well as the brownies will stick.
Step five: bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is cracked and shiny. The centre should still be slightly soft and squidgy.
And that’s it. You are a brownie baker. Reward yourself with a massive slab of brownie, served warm with ice cream (or if you’re serving as a dessert, whisk some cream with a bit of icing sugar and a slug of booze) or allow to cool and place in an airtight container.
So once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can do all sorts of wonderful things with brownies:
- Try folding in 50g of white chocolate buttons, or a chopped up fudge bar
- or add 50g almonds, or macademia nuts, or any nuts
- Add 50g raisins soaked in a little rum, then drained
- Replace 50g of the butter with peanut butter…
- Chuck in a couple of handfuls of Malteasers
- Stir in a couple of tablespoons of marmalade or cherry jam
- Dot the top with fresh cherries, pushing them gently into the mixture
130g muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
100g dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
Whizz up the butter and sugars with the electric whisk, add in the milk and vanilla and whizz some more. Stir in the flour (it seems a lot, but it all goes in eventually). Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Spread over the top of your cooled brownie and refrigerate.
If you still don’t think it’s coronary-inducing enough, you can finish by spreading a layer of melted chocolate over the chilled cookie dough. But that would just be silly.
If you’ve liked this post, feel free to try some of my other step by step guides, including: