There are three kinds of brownies - fudgy, chewy and cakey. I don't know about you but I don't particularly fancy the gooey, fudgy and dense sort that coats your teeth and sticks to the back of your throat. Give me a few bites of it and I'll be reaching for a glass of water to wash down the overwhelming fudginess. I don't really like cakey brownies either, unless they are served warm and fresh out of the oven with a generous scoop of icecream. So yes, I'm a pretty picky brownie eater. I like my brownies chewy (in the middle of fudgy and cakey) with a cracked surface and a nice swirl of light frosting on top.
Unlike cakes, you don't need a whisk or any fancy equipment to make brownies. They are simple to make and all-in-one-bowl kind of fuss free, which makes it easy for me to clean up after. I apply the same philosophy when cooking for myself as well: Cook in one pan and eat out of said pan.
The Basic Chewy Brownie
(makes 1 batch in a 9x9 inch pan)
115g - 72% Dark chocolate
115g - Butter
2 - Eggs
225g - Granulated sugar
1/4 tspn - Salt
2 tspn - Vanilla extract
125g - Plain flour
2 tbspn - Cocoa powder
Optional: 50g nuts/chocolate chips
~ Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a pan with baking paper and ensure that the sheet extends up the sides of the pan for easy removal of the brownie after baking.
~ Break the chocolate up and melt it together with the butter in a heatproof (eg. glass) bowl that is suspended over simmering water. Ensure that the chocolate does not come into contact with water. This is to prevent the chocolate from seizing and turning into a nasty mess.
~ Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
~ Add in the eggs (one at a time), granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, sifted plain flour and cocoa powder (and optional nuts), mixing well after each addition.
~ Pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out so that it covers the edges and corners of the pan. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins.
I wanted to jazz up the plain brownie so I baked them in 8cm tart rings instead and topped them off with peanut butter/ strawberry cream cheese frostings. And if you don't mind doing a little bit more washing up...
Peanut butter frosting
(for 1 batch of brownies)
50g - Peanut butter
50g - Butter
20g - Double cream
30g - Icing sugar
~ Using an electric whisk, beat the peanut butter and butter together in a bowl until it is smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy. Add in the double cream and beat until incorporated.
Strawberry cream cheese frosting
(for 1 batch of brownies)
50g - Cream cheese
20g - Strawberry jam
50g - Double cream
~ Mix the strawberry jam with the cream cheese in a bowl. Pour in the double cream and stir till you get a smooth and stiff consistency that is perfect for piping.
There are so many things you can do with a brownie. Let me know if you have any favourites/ wild wacky ideas!