brownies

Tahini & Pistachio Brownies

First off, apologies for the brief recipe hiatus. I’ve recently moved house and have been trying to figure out the perfect temperature to bake with in my new (incredibly retro) gas oven. And no, it’s not been as simple as converting degrees to gas marks- this oven has its own special way of working (i.e. it’s lukewarm for the majority of settings until the last when it turns into Mordor and burns everything in sight). Anyway I think I’ve cracked it now, so here’s my first recipe a la 1980s oven; tahini and pistachio brownies. They’re really simple to make but deliver everything you’d expect from a really good brownie- a dense, moist texture with added crunch from the pistachios and a deep indulgent chocolate flavour, which is definitely enhanced by the slightly salty, nutty pockets of tahini and halva.

Ingredients

  • 250g good quality dark chocolate
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • generous pinch sea salt
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 75g chopped pistachios
  • 100g halva, crumbled
  • 100g tahini, well stirred

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 22x22cm brownie tray.
  2. Place the dark chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (don’t allow the water to touch the base of the bowl or the chocolate will burn). Melt gently, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool a little.
  3. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) whisk together the golden caster sugar and eggs until pale and voluminous (about 3-5 minutes). Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture followed by the sea salt and flour. Add the milk chocolate and dark chocolate chunks and most of the pistachios (reserve a few for sprinkling on the top) then stir.
  4. Tip half the brownie mix into the prepared tin then dollop over half the tahini and sprinkle on half the halva. Top with the rest of the brownie mix and repeat, then finish with the reserved pistachios.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the middle is almost set but retains a slight wobble. Set aside to cool completely in the tin.
  6. Once cooled, slice up and serve.

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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!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are rich, dense and studded with cranberries and white chocolate chunks- a great (and easy) festive treat to whip up for visiting family and friends over the coming weeks…

Ingredients:

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 210g butter
  • 310g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk
  • 3tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g plain flour
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 100g dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a square baking tin/ brownie tray.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of gently simmering water. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl or it could cause the chocolate to seize.
  3. Stir the butter and chocolate occasionally until melted then set aside to cool for a few minutes. Once the chocolate has cooled a little, add the sugar and salt then whisk (with electric beaters or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until well combined.
  4. Now add the eggs and whisk on high until the mix has lightened in colour and is glossy (about 5 minutes- whisking well at this stage is what gives you that classic flaky top!).
  5. Sift in the flour and fold then finally stir in the white chocolate and cranberries. Tip into the lined baking tin and spread out. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set but still very moist in the middle.

 

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!