June 29, 2012 · 27 comments

I Gain My Diploma In Food Journalism & Nigel Slater’s Brownies

in Cakes & Cookies,Vegetarian

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?

Many of my friends and fellow bloggers have raved about these brownies. Jane said “you will never go back” Katy “cannot recommend [them] highly enough, and the man himself says:

“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?


Ultimate Brownies
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  1. 300g golden caster sugar
  2. 250g butter
  3. 250g chocolate
  4. 3 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
  5. 60g flour
  6. 60g finest quality cocoa powder
  7. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. You will need a baking tin, about 23cm x 23cm, preferably non-stick, or a small roasting tin.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Adapted from Nigel Slater
Adapted from Nigel Slater
Culinary Travels http://culinarytravels.co.uk/
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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Roper via Facebook June 29, 2012 at 18:48

congratulations! the brownies look fabulous


George@CulinaryTravels June 29, 2012 at 20:43

Thank you Jane.


Kavey June 29, 2012 at 23:54

Huge congratulations! And also: YUM!


George@CulinaryTravels June 30, 2012 at 20:47

Thank you Kavey, I still haven’t stopped grinning :D


brighteyedbaker June 30, 2012 at 02:28

These look straight up amazing, and if I wan’t convinced by the photo, I was convinced by your writing. I guess I better get the chocolate out, pronto!
brighteyedbaker´s last blog post ..Confession #72: I’m hogging all the berries… Berry Tartlets


George@CulinaryTravels June 30, 2012 at 20:47

Thank you very much! I hope you’ll enjoy them.


ally June 30, 2012 at 21:46

congratulations! can’t think of a better way to celebrate then to devour a batch of these glorious brownies!
ally´s last blog post ..86.


George@CulinaryTravels July 1, 2012 at 19:31

Thank you Ally. They were a very good choice of celebration baking indeed.


Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours June 30, 2012 at 22:34


Nigel’s brownies do seem the perfect way to celebrate. I do love his elegant phrasing and writing. I am so delighted that he has finally started to tweet!
Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours´s last blog post ..Recipe: Dropped Cracker Tin Bread – AKA the Loaf of Biscuit Crumbs


George@CulinaryTravels July 1, 2012 at 18:51

Thank you very much Helen. I too am thrilled he is tweeting.


Kathryn July 1, 2012 at 00:41

Congratulations! I’ve looked at that course previously, would you say that it was worthwhile?

Your brownies look just perfect!
Kathryn´s last blog post ..mustard baked fries & june foodie pen pals


George@CulinaryTravels July 1, 2012 at 18:53

Thank you Kathryn. The course was very good, worth the money. It’s ever so flexible – no deadlines at all, which either suits or is the worst thing going depending on your learning style. I found it invaluable for learning how to approach editors and how to negotiate payments etc. Also very good on learning how to write for sales/PR etc. Would I do another course with CTJT? Yes, in a heartbeat.


nicola July 1, 2012 at 12:10

Congratulations! I absolutely agree, these brownies are the best recipe ever! Well certainly the best I’ve tried :-)
nicola´s last blog post ..Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffins with Lime Glaze


George@CulinaryTravels July 1, 2012 at 18:54

Thank you Nicola. I’m always keen to try new brownies but these will become my ‘trusty’ fall back recipe.


Lucy July 1, 2012 at 20:53

I love the Glastonbury mud description – surprisingly very tempting! These brownies look incredible and may tear me away from my classic Nigella version. Congratulations on your diploma!
Lucy´s last blog post ..Tomato and Pesto Tart


George@CulinaryTravels July 2, 2012 at 20:38

Thank you Lucy! Such a great quote isn’t it Lucy, it really grabbed my attention.


Jennifer (Delicieux) July 2, 2012 at 08:52

Congratulations!!! These brownies look like a fabulous way to celebrate. My favourite brownie recipe is one of Nigella’s but these look good enough for me to give them a try instead :D
Jennifer (Delicieux)´s last blog post ..Lemon Cream Roulade – Guest Post from SprinkleBakes


George@CulinaryTravels July 2, 2012 at 20:37

Thank you Jennifer. I love Nigella’s brownies too, but these do pip them to the post so to speak. I’d love to hear your thoughts too, if you do make them.


Grannymar July 4, 2012 at 09:29

Wonderful news about the diploma. Many Congratulations.
The brownies sound yummy, I feel a baking session coming on….
Grannymar´s last blog post ..Food Monday ~ Sweet & Sour Pork


George@CulinaryTravels July 4, 2012 at 20:52

Thank you Grannymar. I hope you’ll enjoy your baking session – I’ll look forward to reading more on your blog :)


Jenny July 11, 2012 at 13:16

Congratulations! What a way to celebrate, they look like the fudgiest brownies ever!
Jenny´s last blog post ..Cauliflower Cheese & Spinach Pasta Bake


Grace February 22, 2014 at 13:09

Congratulations George!!


George@CulinaryTravels February 22, 2014 at 20:32

Thank you Grace.


Jasmine February 23, 2014 at 07:20

Those brownies look ace. Well done on your diploma too.


George@CulinaryTravels February 23, 2014 at 14:35

Thank you Jasmine.


Violet February 24, 2014 at 11:12

Oh drool! These look amazing.


George@CulinaryTravels February 25, 2014 at 12:53

Thank you very much Violet.


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