brownie

Salted Hazelnut Praline and Black Forest Fruit Brownies

It will come as no surprise to find out that I’m partial to a chocolate brownie, and having tried a fair few, I can safely say this variety (which I threw together as an experiment and didn’t have particularly high expectations for) is now a firm favourite. With a blackberry and cherry compote core and hazelnut praline top, these moist and deeply chocolatey bars deliver the dense, moist texture you expect from a great brownie, but also carry a welcome tang and contrasting crunch which make them a little different and perfect for late summer.

Ingredients

For the hazelnut praline

  • 150g blanched hazelnuts
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Generous pinch sea salt

For the black forest fruit filling

  • 400g fresh or frozen black forest fruits (blackberries, cherries, blackcurrants- choose one or use a combination depending on your preference/availability)
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • Zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 4tbsp kirsch (optional)

For the brownie batter

  • 250g butter, cubed
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 100g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • large pinch sea salt
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Before you make the brownie batter, prepare the fillings. Start with the hazelnut praline; to make this simply place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until it forms a caramel (don’t stir, just swirl the pan to move the sugar around). Once the caramel has taken on a golden colour, add the hazelnuts and stir to coat. Scrape the contents of the pan onto a baking paper lined tray and spread out in an even layer. Leave to harden.
  2. To make the black forest filling, place 300g of the fruit in a saucepan along with the caster sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and kirsch (if using). Heat gently until the berries release their juices, then increase the heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, reduce to a compote consistency. Set aside to cool.
  3. The caramel will now have hardened around the hazelnuts. Break it up into pieces and place in a food processor, then blitz until you’ve got a coarse crumble (don’t over blitz, you want a little texture to remain).
  4. Now it’s time to make the brownie batter. Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line a 20x20cm brownie tin. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and melt together over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool a little.
  5. While the chocolate mixture cools, place the sugars, salt, eggs and egg yolk in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl) and beat until very light and voluminous (it will pretty much double in size).
  6. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate mix down the side of the bowl and fold in using a large metal spoon, then add the flour and do the same until you have a smooth, lump free batter. Now add the chocolate chunks and stir through to evenly distribute.
  7. Tip half the mix into the brownie tin and level off. Scrape in the black forest filling and sprinkle over most of the hazelnut praline. Top with the rest of the brownie batter then, finally, scatter on the remaining fruits and praline.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. When it’s ready, the brownie will have a crisp top but will wobble slightly when shaken and have a gooey texture inside. Set aside to cool (completely) in the tin then once it’s set up a little, remove, slice up and serve.

Enjoy!

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Cherry and White Chocolate Brownies

These fudgy brownies incite frenzied eating in my house; they barely saw the light of day when I made them last and half my family were out… It’s hardly surprising they are so addictive though- white chocolate matches brilliantly with fresh cherry compote (particularly when accompanied by a very generous glug of slightly unseasonal brandy).

Ingredients:

For the compote:

  • 300g cherries (stones removed)
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tbsp water
  • large glug brandy (this amount is totally down to your taste)

For the brownies:

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 200g white chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Start by making the compote. Roughly chop the cherries. Place in a pan along with the sugar, water and brandy. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the cherries become soft and the syrupy liquid starts to thicken (about 10 minutes). Once the consistency is somewhat jam-like, taste and add more brandy if you like (you can leave out the brandy entirely if it’s not your jam- ha.). Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a brownie tin (around 22x22cm is perfect).
  3. Place the butter and dark chocolate in a  heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the water touch the base of the bowl). Stir occasionally and remove from the heat once melted together.
  4. Place the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat together until well combined.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl and fold in followed by the flour and 2/3 of the white chocolate chunks. Tip into the lined baking tin and level out.
  6. Dollop the compote all over the surface of the brownie and finish by sprinkling on the remaining white chocolate. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the top is set but the inside is moist and a little gooey.
  7. Allow the brownie to cool completely in the tin then slice up and serve.

Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Pecan Brownies

Brownies just got serious.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of any brownie, but after trying out countless flavour combinations and ingredients I’ve deemed this my all time favourite recipe… dense fudgy chocolate, roughly chopped pecans and oozy salted caramel sauce… what more could you want?

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To make these tempting treats, you will need…

For the salted caramel: 80ml water, 250g golden caster sugar, 80ml double cream, 20g butter, 2tsp flaked salt

Before you make your brownies, you’ve got to make your salted caramel (if this phases you a bit, you could just buy some ready made).

Pour the water into a wide bottom pan followed by the sugar. Swirl about a little to combine then place on a high heat.

Keep an eye on the pan but DO NOT STIR or it may crystalise. The sugar will quickly dissolve and bubbles will form on the surface of the sugar syrup after a few minutes. At this point, watch the mixture and wait for it to turn a golden brown (this should take 3-4 minutes). Now remove from the heat and pour in the cream, mixing quickly. The liquid may spit but that’s completely normal, just be careful!

Now add the butter and stir in the salt. Pour into a container and cool for about an hour (or you could make this the day before and refrigerate until required).

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For the brownie mix: 240g dark chocolate, 240g butter, pinch salt, 3 eggs, 280g golden caster sugar, 100g plain flour, 60g cocoa powder, 100g roughly chopped pecans

Line a 10″x10″ brownie tin with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 160c (fan).

Break the chocolate into pieces and cube the butter, then place in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water. Gently stir until melted then set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, salt and sugar until pale, fluffy and very thick. This might take 5 minutes or so but it’s well worth the result!

Sift the flour and cocoa into the bowl and gently fold with a spatula until just combined. Now pour the chocolatey butter mixture down the side and fold this in until smooth- try to retain the light texture of the mix by carefully combining.

Lastly, mix in 70g of the chopped pecans.

Pour half the brownie mix into the prepared tin and level out. Now take a third of the salted caramel sauce and drizzle all over. Put the rest of the brownie mix on top and spoon over another third of the caramel, followed by the rest of the pecans.

Place in the oven for 50 minutes to bake.

When cooked (but still fudgy), leave to cool COMPLETELY in the tin (this makes it easier to remove and cut).

When cool chop into pieces and drizzle over the remaining caramel.

Enjoy!