Archives for posts with tag: Chocolate brownie

Despite being on holiday / wedmin trip in Northern Italy, news of the GBBO #bincident earlier on in the series and the scandal it created reached my ears last week.

After dwelling upon the “bincident”, and other more mainstream portmanteaux (a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings – Wikipedia) – Brangelina probably being the least academic of them, my mind wandered to the fairly modern world of sweet dessert hybrids. Despite never having seen a cronut (croissant and doughnut) in real life, I get the picture, and quite enjoyed an apple and cinnamon duffin (doughnut and muffin) once in Starbucks.

It was by complete coincidence then, that in the Asda magazine that I picked up last week, there were recipes for aTownie and Pieclair.

I had thought it was an invention of the ever-impressive Asda magazine, however Bea’s of Bloomsbury is claiming the title according to this article.
http://www.today.com/food/move-over-cronut-its-time-townie-6C10411620

Joe and Sophie (Jophie?) were coming to stay, so I thought it an appropriate occasion to trial this new idea. I used a combination of the Asda magazine (paper form only I’m afraid) and this recipe that I found online. http://sortedfood.com/#!/townie/

Starting with a sweet dessert pastry base, I part-baked the shell in a silicone mould to make it easier to remove the townie once finished.

sweet pastry

I then added the tasty pecan mixture. I don’t often cook with nuts and so found it hard to tell when the mixture had cooked sufficiently.

pre-baked pecans

It did rise up a little and go nice and golden brown though.

post-cooked pecans

I made a brownie mixture in much the same way that I would make triple chocolate brownies https://lydiatoson.com/2013/09/08/coveted-triple-chocolate-brownies/ and poured on top of the baked pecan mixture. 20 minutes in the oven later, smelling superbly chocolatey, was my townie!

Chocolate townie     baked townie

I was rather pleased with my townie, I liked the encasing of a chocolate brownie, although in retrospect I probably overdid it slightly, so keep an eye on it is my recommendation!

Still, it was very tasty whether served warm or cold. Oh and the little ones were good for lunchboxes, and more robust  to being knocked about during the morning commute than a normal brownie.

I may go for a pieclair (yep – a pie made of eclairs!) or a pike (apple pie atop a raspberry cake) next…

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I call these brownies “coveted” because in the many years I have been making them, I have probably been asked for (and have shared) the recipe around 25-30 times by various friends, family and colleagues.

I really feel that brownies must be intensely chocolatey and also have some sort of treats within them; I can’t stand dry, bland tasting brownies that feel like you are eating a stale chocolate sponge. Therefore, triple chocolate chips are used throughout the intensely moist, chocolate-packed brownie mixture.

They are so easy to make that at work I have shamelessly bribed numerous office workshops and group exercises with brownie-shaped refreshments. The last team that I worked with instigated a “brownie bake off” following my departure, to see who can make the best brownies in order to replace me – a compliment I’m sure!

It must be said upfront however that this is not wholly my own recipe, it is indeed adapted from Anthony Worrall Thompson for BBC, and this is the link I always offer people when asked for the recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/triplechocolatebrown_7685

Over the years I have adapted Anthony’s recipe, but feel free to use either version (see below) and read on for a few tips I have learned along the way.

Firstly, I have never claimed that these brownies were low in calories, as I may do with some recipes, since a full 600g of chocolate are required to make these little beauties. My biggest tip would be to use good quality chocolate (minimum 70% solids dark chocolate and decent white chocolate), it truly does make a difference to the richness and taste of the finished product.

Quality chocolate

Secondly, follow the recipe. Whilst I do not often stipulate the order in which ingredients should be added, the ingredients in this recipe must be added in order due to the heat of the butter/ chocolate mixture at the start. You want to stir the sugar in whilst the mixture is still hot, however you must wait for it to be cooled with flour and eggs added before adding the chocolate chips, otherwise they will melt before cooking and end up a squidgy mess (and not in a good way!).

Brownie mixture

Thirdly, trust your judgement when deciding whether the brownies are sufficiently cooked. This can be a bit tricky, but make sure that the top is firm and only moves a little if you shake your hand whilst pressing lightly onto it. Unlike a sponge, it is fine for the mixture to still be a little moist after cooking since they will solidify as they cool.

Brownie tray

Fourthly, these chocolatey treats are great cooked just before guests arrive, since they will fill any space with powerful cocoa aromas.

Good enough for a true celebration as well as a tough workshop, they were recently requested for a wedding by my great friends Vic and Rowan as part of the dessert table I made for them.

Brownie stack

Ingredients:

300g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
250g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
100g milk chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
100g white chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
100g dark chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
175g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Grease a 30x20x3.5cm/12x8x1½in tin (I use a standard sized roasting tin) with butter
  2. Put the plain chocolate and butter in a large bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt. Stir often
  3. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the sugar
  4. Add the eggs and mix all together by hand until combined
  5. Fold in the baking powder, flour and chocolate
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes. The top should be firm but the inside should feel soft when cooked
  7. Cut brownies into squares whilst still warm but wait until cool to remove from tin. I tend to trim any crisp edges.
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