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I made these to take along to the Green Man Festival. You always need some little treats when you are camping, especially when the forecast is for four days of solid rain. Luckily we had some serious sunshine between the serious downpours and I only had to queue for the toilets in a thunderstorm once. Anyway, these were lovely, and comforting and luxurious, and, like the weather, seriously moist.

P1030818

It takes a bit of confidence to bake a brownie. First of all there are just so many recipes out there to choose from. I have put this one together with a lot of agonising, testing and re-testing.

The perfect brownie requires the perfect length of cooking time to ensure it is moist, but not sloppy.  You want the finished brownie to be damp in the middle, but not undercooked. Also you need two different types of chocolate to ensure the right amount of gooiness. I don’t understand the science of this, but it has something to do with the way the fat content of the chocolate makes it behave differently during the cooking process.

Undercooking is better than overcooking. When you take your brownies out of the oven and shake the tray slightly, you want them to wobble rather than slop. Give the top of your tray-bake a little tap – it should sound just right  (unfortunately it takes practice and experience to know what this sound is, but my best guess is ‘phftut’).  I know this is a little vague, but the recipe that follows worked for me, and my oven.

Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 300g dark chocolate – I used 200g of chocolate with 70% cocoa solids and 100g with 35% cocoa solids
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 150g tinned cherries, roughly chopped into quarters and coated in a little of the cooking flour
  • You could also add a splash of cherry liqueur.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Grease and line a baking tray – mine is about 27cm x 17cm.

Slowly melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. When it has melted, add the eggs and sugar and whisk together. Then whisk in the orange zest and juice.

Fold in the flour, then the cherries.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin and cook for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool and slice into squares. If you like you can dust with cocoa powder.

Makes about 15.

 

 

 

P1020405

I have to say, these are the most delicious things I have ever tasted. I made them for the P.T.A. cake-sale, and the school have no idea how lucky they are that I didn’t just scoff the lot and send in some Mr Kipling confection as a substitute.

Blondies are basically a white chocolate version of brownies. There are countless recipes out there for blondies involving peanut butter and macadamia nuts, but I just wanted to keep things simple.

Incidentally, there is nothing healthy about this sweet – I have never seen so much sugar in a recipe. But it was love at first bite. I could happily get fat on these.

Ingredients

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 350g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a baking tray. My tray is 25 x 16cm.

Melt the butter in the microwave in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, honey and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the eggs, and whisk again.

Sieve in the flour, baking powder, salt and half the chocolate. Stir gently until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Spoon the mixture into your lined tin.

Sprinkle the white chocolate over the top. (If you want to add some nuts, here’s the place to do it.)

Bake for around 25 minutes. You want a skewer to come out clean.

Blondies should be soft and chewy on the inside, just like brownies.

MAKES 18, or so.

 

 

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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