The best brownies ever
I don't have a sweet tooth. I have a loathing for milk and white chocolate and I don't eat Tim Tams, Nutella or chocolate cake. But god, do I love brownies. Especially the fudge-y, dark, dense ones. Not cake-y, but chewy and moist. I've tried so, so many recipes – creaming the butter and sugar or melting the butter and chocolate, using cocoa powder or using dark cooking chocolate, three eggs, two eggs or two and eggs and a yolk, more flour or less flour, butter or shortening, caster sugar or raw sugar or brown sugar, baking longer at a lower temperature or shorter at a higher temperature, et cetera. But these are the absolute best if you like your brownies how I do, and here's what I've discovered I like:
- Muscovado or brown sugar – the darker the colour, the more pronounced the molasses flavour.
- Dark cooking chocolate – some recipes use cocoa powder and extra sugar instead, but I've found that semisweet chocolate makes the brownies chewier and creamier. I use 60% cocoa.
- Melting the butter with the chocolate – creaming the butter and sugar aerates the mixture and gives the brownies more rise, making them more cake-like. Melting the butter and chocolate together makes the brownies denser and fudge-y.
- Not many eggs – too many makes the brownies drier and tougher.
- Unsalted, real butter. Sorry vegan friends!
- No baking powder, milk or syrup. No need, I promise.
Yield: 12 brownies
Yield: 12 brownies
- 125g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate
- 180g light Muscovado or regular brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 85g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
- 75g walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and line the base of an 18cm square pan, don't grease the edges because this will fry the brownies on the sides.
- Place the butter (chopped, for faster melting) and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. I don't like microwaving because it can burn the chocolate.
- When butter and chocolate have melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt into the mixture.
- Beat the eggs and then add to the mixture, mixing well.
- Add the flour, beating until smooth. Fold in the walnuts. You can toast walnuts by placing them on a plate in single layer, and microwaving for two minutes in one minute bursts. Remove as much skin as you can after chopping because it leaves a bitter taste.
- Pour mixture into pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a moist crumbs attached - if it comes out clean, you've overdone it. They will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven so undercooked ones are always better than overcooked dry brownies.
- Allow to cool, before cutting into squares (I was a little impatient, hence the messy edges)
- Stuff your face. Or serve with ice-cream (the real stuff though, low-fat ice-cream is bollocks).
The best brownies no more