This post was supposed to be a demonstration of a wonderfully simple and foolproof recipe for hot cross buns. More fool me. Alas, after three failed batches, I have resorted to buying some from my local bakery.
So, in its place, I am offering something vaguely in line with Easter, in that it contains a vast amount of chocolate. It is also a recipe which always works, which is a bonus for a cooking blog. This particular brownie recipe was given to me by my friend Luda a few years ago. She adds honeycomb and sometimes crumbled Oreo cookies, which is outrageously good.
Brownies are a contentious issue because the varieties are infinite; some people love nuts, others prefer the addition of dried fruit, some like chocolate chips or honeycomb to chew on. I have tried many of these exotic combinations, but this recipe offers none of these; I have stripped it back to be as straightforward, pure and plain as a brownie recipe can get. These really are ‘just’ brownies. This simplicity should not detract in any way from how amazing these brownies are. They are dense, gooey in the right places, rich and totally satisfying. It also helps that they are truly the work of moments to make. What makes it a great, as opposed to a good, recipe is the use of light muscovado sugar. It brings a subtle fudgy and caramel note to the brownie, which is about a good a companion to chocolate as you can get. As it is not disguised by any extras, I would urge you to buy a very good dark chocolate, by which I mean at least 70% cocoa solids in content.
These are rich enough to serve as a dessert after dinner; simply add a dusting if icing sugar and a big spoonful of creme fraiche.
165g unsalted butter
200g dark, good quality chocolate
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
165g light muscovado sugar
2tbps plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder (not hot chocolate powder)
pinch of salt
Grease and line a 20cm baking tin or swiss roll tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Break up the chocolate into small pieces, place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of just simmering water. Be careful not to allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. When melted together, remove from the pan and allow to cool a little.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, sugar and salt together. Add the flour and cocoa a little at a time until all combined.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs little by little and whisk until fluffy.
Pour the mixture into the tray and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes. When it is ready, the top will crack slightly, but you will be able to feel a wobble underneath when you press the top gently.
Allow to cool if you can bear it.