Get Inspired…. usually when I get a new kitchen kit, I get inspired to try something new or try something tested in a new environment – so that was the case when I bought my new Le Creuset Baking Tin, from their new baking range. It was exactly perfect for me to try the brownie recipe that I created for my soon to be sold caffe, (Escape Caffe in Cape Town) back in late 2010. The emphasis back then, which is still part of my baking philosophy, was to keep things simple, but using the best ingredients you can find, so for this, there’s only 5 ingredients of joy;
200g dark chocolate (with at least 65% cocoa content)
200g unsalted butter (ideally soft)
3 large organic free-range eggs (at room temperature)
200g caster sugar
150g plain flour
Using the following tools……..
medium sized cooking pot (to melt the chocolate)
long-handle wooden spoon (to stir the chocolate)
large mixing bowl
Non-stick square baking tin (about 9 inches or 23cm – the standard)
Oven on 160C and stove on medium heat – obviously!
First up, melt the chocolate and the butter in a medium sized cooking pot on low-medium heat, using a wooden spoon to mix it until the mixture becomes velvety smooth and uniform in colour. Take off the heat and if you have a helping hand (like a keen child), get them to gently keep mixing the mixture, whilst you get on with the rest of the preparation. You want to do this, to make sure that as the chocolate butter mixture cools it doesn’t get lumpy – it shouldn’t really if you use high quality ingredients and don’t let the mixture bubble.
whisk your eggs vigorously until the mixture is creamy yellow white and has doubled in size. Then gently pour the sugar inside and continue whisking until there are no lumps and the mixture looks smooth.
Gently pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking at the same time to ensure a smooth infusion – ideally you should have a helping hand, unless you’re a pro, where you kind off have 3 hands.
Once you’ve finished whisking the chocolate and the egg mixture into one, then sift the flour in, and using a wooden spoon complete mixing the whole mixture (a whisk won’t work for this) – the mixture should look kind off sticky.
Make sure your baking tin is well oiled with butter or sprayed with a baking spray. Gently pour your brownie mixture in and place into the oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes.
Now, the secret and difficult part.
The main point of a brownie is to have a slightly crusty top and a gooey (nick name for my daughter) centre, so that whenever you bite into it, it’s NEVER dry but melt in your mouth gooe-iness, BUT, how do you get this ?
Bake on 160C as opposed to the standard 170C or 180C in the bottom part of the oven – usually you bake in the middle or top, but you want more heat going to the bottom as the top will brown quickly.
Never over bake the brownie – when you put a toothpick or cake tester in after 18 minutes, it should still be wet but not dripping.
When you take the brownies out, leave them in the tin and after about 10 minutes, gently cut them with a sharp plastic instrument, like a spatula (you can use a knife but ensure you don’t scratch your baking tin).
After you have cut the brownies into size, leave in the tin for at least one hour, after which, gently lift them out individually – they should still be warm – YUMMY!
Variations: Macadamia Version – once you’ve poured the brownie mixture into the baking tin, gently place lumps of macadamia in, ensuring that they are below the chocolate bed, because if they are exposed, they will burn. It’s best to use a fork for this, as opposed to your fingers, unless you want to eat your fingers.
ENJOY as always.