Between you and me, my world was rocked last week by a chocolate brownie.
I am a taker-or-leaver, when it comes to brownie – too sickly when it’s gooey, and too chewy when it’s not – though of course I would never turn one down. Last week, however, a friend made a brownie that turned all of my pooh-poohs upside down. It was moist and chocolatey and delicious. It was like the best kind of chocolate cake, but somehow even better. It was a Nigel Slater recipe (who’s he?).
It got me thinking. Revelations about baked goods usually do. What if brownies could be this amazing all the time? Everyone has a brownie recipe tucked away. What if I made a bold investigation of lots of different recipes and found one that changed my brownie opinion forever?
Lawks a’ mercy. Imagine it. Lives changed. Brownies consumed. Nigel Slater identified. It would be too good to be true.
So this week, I began where my heart is: Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. This book started me on the path of bakehood, and I love it. Her basic brownie recipe makes an astonishing 48 pieces (really, Nigella?!), so I halved it and ran with that.
(An interjection: we are having an interesting week, baby-wise. I have quite a few photos of a snotty, angry Henricus throwing an eight-month-old tantrum on the floor – because in the end it was making me laugh – but this week, not very many photos of the baking process. In fact, none at all. Have this one, instead:
You start by melting dark chocolate and butter, then in a separate bowl beating eggs and sugar, then in another separate bowl sifting flour and salt. I’m not entirely sure why so many bowls were necessary, especially as you then combine all the ingredients, but I’m not Nigella. If I were, I’d be cooking in a much fancier kitchen and wearing a silk dressing gown, probably.
I considered the oven time carefully, as I wanted something on the soft, undercooked side. The recipe said 25 minutes, and in the end I think I left it in for 20. Remember it continues to cook as it cools, so err on the spongy side if that’s what you want.
And so, ta-da:
All-in-all, these were quite a pleasant surprise, though not the game-changer I was hoping for. Fresh from the oven, they were exactly what I wanted – soft and damp and full of promise – although, as they cooled, they became denser. The day after, they were denser still, although Tim was more of a fan of this than I was. This recipe also includes walnuts. I happen to like nuts in cake very much, but Timothy gave a howl of protest when I told him it wasn’t white chocolate. You may want to substitute, but I thought they worked well.
(I fed two and a half crumbs to my baby to make the screeching stop for five minutes. Bad mother? It worked like a charm, so I can’t even feel too guilty about it.)
Final marks, after consultation:
Staying power: 4. Not so good the day after.
Now it’s your turn. Which is your favourite brownie recipe? Do you have one of your own? May I try it?
Leave a comment below. This could change my life, you guys.