Monday, 8 June 2015

The ‘Best Ever’ chocolate brownie recipe - updated

Chocolate Brownie finishedHaving made meringues and chocolate mousse endlessly for the son’s summer barbeque in the past and no bake creamy cheesecake already having been requested, I decided to do something different (for this kitchen, at least) and bake chocolate brownies.

Looking for a good chocolate brownie recipe is hard – there are simply too many, but when I came across the BBC’s ‘Best Ever Chocolate Brownie recipe’ with 700 happy reviews I decided this was it.  So I had a go.  I was told by my first two tasters that they tasted excellent but they fell apart, so in the next batch I added an extra egg, made 1.5 times the recipe for a 30 x 20 foil flapjack or brownie tray, cooked them for a little longer than the recipe states and they were perfect.

Having done the recipe another four times over the week, as I wanted to freeze some for a Glyndebourne picnic, I can only tell you that they have now been tasted by about 40 enthusiastic brownie eaters who all told me they were the best.

They’re squidgy, studded with white and milk chocolate chunks, and with a slightly crisp, not dusty, top.  There are none left but luckily I took a picture.

Here’s a link to the chocolate brownie recipe on the BBC website, and here it is with a few extra tips as made by me.

IngredientsUse these quantities for a 20 x 20 tray.  1.5 for a 20 x 30 tray. 
185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 80% cocoa and Bournville chocolate)
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate (mine was white Belgian chocolate from Waitrose - the white chocolate chunks show up better so you can use more, or all white chocolate)
50g milk chocolate (ditto above but milk chocolate from Waitrose)
3 large eggs (I used 4 as with 3 it fell apart too easily)
275g golden caster sugar

Prepare a 20 x 20 or 20 x 30 baking tin (flapjack or brownie tray) by buttering, line with baking parchment and butter again.

Turn the oven on to 180C gas mark 4.

1.   Using a double saucepan (or a bowl over a pan), break the butter and dark chocolate up into small pieces and melt in the top pan or bowl over boiling water.  Stir until smooth and then allow to cool to room temperature.
Chocolate brownie melted chocolate and butter
2.   Sift the cocoa powder and plain flour into a bowl.

Chocolate brownie sifted chocolate and flour
3.   With a sharp knife - I used the Chai Dao knife you can see below which is on my list of favourite kitchen equipment, which made it very easy - chop the white and milk chocolate into small pieces.  Don’t use a food processor for this but chop by hand.  You can use more white than milk chocolate if you want to as they show up better and everyone loves them.

Chocolate brownie recipe chocolate chunks
4.   Put the eggs and the sugar into a large mixing bowl and mix on high speed until it has gone very pale and when you lift the beater/s out and make a squiggle on the top of the mixture it holds its shape for a few seconds.  I used a Kenwood Chef mixer but an electric hand mixer will be fine unless you’re making a big quantity as I was.

Chocolate brownie beating eggs and sugar
5.   Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mix and fold with a long spoon or spatula.  Take the long handled spoon round the side and underneath then up and cut down the middle.  Turn the bowl a quarter and do the same thing again, over and over again.  You’re folding, not stirring or beating to make sure you keep the air in the mixture. Here’s a link from HuffPost to a good video on folding technique.

Chocolate brownie folding chocolate mix into eggs and sugar
6.  Put your sieve on top of the bowl and sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the egg, sugar and chocolate mixture, sieving for the second time, and fold again.  Once it is all well mixed and a lovely chocolaty dark brown you can gently mix in the chocolate pieces.

Chocolate brownie sifted chocolate and flour
7.  Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and level with a spatula.  Put on a rack in the centre of your oven.  For the 20 x 20 tin you will need about 30 - 35 minutes.  Check after 30 and if it is wobbly in the middle put it back.  For a larger (20 x 30) tin you may well need 45 minutes.  Check after 35 and keep checking, it will just be starting to come away from the sides of the tin.  I had my tins (2 at a time and 20 x 30) just below the centre and cooked them for 45 minutes. 

8.   Cool in the tins. 

If you want to freeze them turn them out onto foil and wrap tightly.  (Hold the foil tightly across the tin and turn over quickly.  Then you can peel off the buttered paper and wrap them up to put in the freezer.

If you want to serve them immediately and you want to turn them out use the same method as above, peel off the paper, put a flat tray on top without pressing down too much and turn them back the right way up.  Then you can cut them into pieces.

They will vanish.  Speaking as one who knows these things.