Yesterday I found out I had successfully completed my CTJT course and gained a Diploma in Food Journalism. Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled to bits about this and am still walking around with a grin like the proverbial Cheshire Cat.
Of course this success required a sweet treat and given my love of brownies and the knowledge I’ve been hankering after trying another new recipe, what better than Nigel Slater’s brownies?
“No nuts, no flavourings, just a 24-carat brownie recipe, as dense and fudgy as Glastonbury mud.”
How, oh how, did I manage to avoid making these for so many years? I must have had my head in the sand.
With a decent 250 g of chocolate in the recipe, plus a generous amount of cocoa, I had an inkling that this recipe could not go wrong. As with any recipe where chocolate is the predominant flavour, you should use the best quality chocolate and cocoa you can afford.
For this recipe, I used Valrhona Grand Cru Dark Baking Chocolate Caraïbe 66% and Bensdorp cocoa from Dean & Deluca, the latter being a staple ingredient in my pantry ever since my lovely friend Ilana sent me some.
As with any brownie recipe, this particular recipe was fairly easy to put together. I love that some of the chocolates are chopped up into small chunks and folded through the batter to provide nuggets of sweetness as you cut through a slice. Baking brownies in a square tin makes a lot of sense because you will have a few fudgy slices in the centre for those who like their brownies really gooey, and the slices around the edges tend to be drier, and chewier, yet still wonderfully moist. They keep quite well for a few days under a covered dish, if you can manage to restrain yourself from eating them all in one sitting.
Upon biting into my first slice of this brownie, I needed no further persuasion as to which was the better brownie recipe. Nigel Slater’s “My Very Good Chocolate Brownie” is more than very good. It is, without a doubt, the best brownie recipe. Ever.
Perhaps it is the top-quality chocolate which I used in this recipe which gives it the deep, dark, chocolate flavour. But the use of little flour in Nigel Slater’s recipe certainly makes the brownies less cake-like and more deliciously dense and fudgy. Just perfect with a good cup of coffee, be it early morning cappuccino or late evening espresso or anything in between.
Not only was I thrilled to have gained my diploma and chuffed with the outcome of these delectable brownies; imagine my delight when Nigel Slater actually replied to me on Twitter when I posted an Instagram shot of them! Wonder if he’ll reply to this blog post too?
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 250g butter
- 250g chocolate
- 3 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
- 60g flour
- 60g finest quality cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- You will need a baking tin, about 23cm x 23cm, preferably non-stick, or a small roasting tin.
- Set the oven at 180°C/Gas 4. Line the bottom of the baking tin with baking parchment. Put the sugar and butter into the bowl of a food mixer and beat for several minutes till white and fluffy. You can do it by hand if you wish, but you need to keep going until the mixture is really soft and creamy.
- Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces, set 50g of it aside and melt the rest in a bowl suspended over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. As soon as the chocolate has melted remove it from the heat. Chop the remaining 50g into gravel-sized pieces.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix in a pinch of salt. With the food mixer running slowly, introduce the beaten egg a little at a time, speeding up in between additions. Remove the bowl from the mixer to the work surface, then mix in the melted and the chopped chocolate with a large metal spoon. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa, gently and firmly, without knocking any of the air out. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 30 minutes. The top will have risen slightly and the cake will appear slightly softer in the middle than around the edges.Pierce the centre of the cake with a fork - it should come out sticky, but not with raw mixture attached to it. If it does, then return the brownie to the oven for three more minutes. It is worth remembering that it will solidify a little on cooling, so if it appears a bit wet, don't worry.