Tag Archives: brownie

How to bake the World’s Best Brownie

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Brownies are great. Everybody loves a well baked brownie – you might know someone who doesn’t, but you only remember them because they are one in a million. This recipe is extremely versatile. It’s a rich, moist brownie that you can throw anything into to make it your own. The other great thing about this recipe is it is extremely difficult to get wrong – there is no danger of overmixing anything and it ending up as a chocolatey mess, and I have found that using the basic ranges of ingredients works just as well – just don’t tell anyone!

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter (or baking spread/Stork)
300g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
80g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
65g plain flour

Method

Melt the butter and chocolate  in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water slowly. You can do this in a saucepan directly, but just be sure to do it slowly and keep stirring it regularly – it will be fine. Add the sugar to a bowl (or a large jug) along with the vanilla essence. Pour in the chocolatey buttery mixture and stir well. Add the four eggs and mix thoroughly until smooth. Sieve the flour into the bowl and beat until smooth and silky – you can try very hard – but I have never found it possible to overmix this – just beating it with a wooden spoon until smooth works just fine. Line a brownie tin with baking paper (neatly – this is the most important bit!) and pour in the mixture. Gently bash the tin on the worktop Bake for around 15 minutes at 170° until the outside is cakey and the middle is still a bit squidgy. As a general rule – check your brownie and if it wobbles when you shake it – it needs longer – ideally 5 minutes after the time it stops wobbling. There is a varying degree of squidgyness so if you’re into eating your brownie with a spoon – you probably want to leave it for less time – mine turn out quite sturdy, but moist in the middle. This advice becomes very important when you start adding things like raspberries and cheeseecake topping.

Optional extras:

You might like to try adding chopped nuts, chocolate chips, cherries, fresh raspberries (you can add frozen too – but you’ll need to substantially increase the cooking time) or chopped stem ginger. Add to the mixture at the end.

If dark chocolate is not your thing – this recipe works just as well with milk chocolate – just knock the sugar down to 250g and the butter down to 200g.

Adding a cheesecake topping and swirling it through the mixture adds a wonderfully simple, yummy extra. Mix 150g cream cheese with 60g icing sugar and a tsp vanilla extract. Beat in one egg and dollop on top of the mixture. Swirl through with a skewer or knife. Alternatively pipe it in lines and sweep the skewer through it in alternate directions for a posh pattern.

You could use this mixture to create a base for a normal cheesecake, or a triple layered brownie cheesecake. I would recommend halving the recipe and adding the cheesecake and raspberry cream layers according to the recipe here. You could just as easily add a non-baked cheesecake mixture to the top of a thinner brownie base and chill to set. Any other ideas for how to use this ultimate brownie recipe would be greatly appreciated – post ideas below!

For more of our brownie ideas and thoughts, see Our Quest for the World’s Best Brownie.

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Great Arthritis Bake Off

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So what’s a better excuse to get together with friends, eat a tonne of cake and have a few drinks than to raise money for charity? Not much. Arthritis Research were offering me this very opportunity when I was perusing their website the other day – so I decided to go for it!

With a bit of planning, a few fairy lights and some help from my friends, we put on an awesome BBQ (with all the trimmings) and some tunes. I encouraged everyone to bring along their most impressive baked creation for the chance to win a small prize! See the pics below for some ideas of what was on offer. I will post the recipe for the winning cake in due course!

Our Quest For The World’s Best Brownie: Update

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As anyone who has read our blog will attest, we are on a never-ending quest for The World’s Best Brownie. It’s a difficult task but someone has got to do it. This latest entry comes from London, a RealFood Market to be more precise and Outsider Tart to be preciser still.

We were down in London to catch some athletics after picking up Paralympic Fever while suffering Post-Olympic Blues (both genuine medical conditions). It. Was. Incredible. Words cannot do justice to how well everything worked, from the train connections, to the ever-so-friendly “games-makers”, via some free (!) ice-cream, chocolate and pretzels. The stadium was a marvel – we were literally in the very last row and still felt a part of the action – the atmosphere  electric, the crowd fantastic, the sport exceptional. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about brownie.

Before leaving for London we made a plan to try something different from the usual lunch and hunt down some exceptional street food. And hunt it down we did.

More on our main courses later, for now we’ll stick to pudding, coming courtesy of two quirky Americans and their mouth-watering cake stall. Laid out before us were what must have been 15 varieties of thick, fat, squares of brownie, enormous amorphous cookies and halfway-house cookie-brownies. To say the choice was impossible would be a lie. But only a small one.

Eventually we went for one Cinnamon & Walnut Dark Chocolate and one Chocolate Peanut Butter. Rich, chammy, sweet, delicious, what’s the word we’re looking for here…oh, yeah: AMAZING. At £2.50 a pop you get plenty of gooey-goodness for your hard-earned buck. They kept us going well into the night, with a nibble here and a gobble there. Omnomnom.

Having returned home we have since discovered these wonderful American brownie-GODS have their own website AND cookbook. (Guess what’s just gone on our Christmas list). It’s just a shame they don’t deliver outside London, though we might have to email them about that – J’s sister has sent him birthday brownies through the post before with no serious repercussions…!

If you’re in the London area really do check these guys out. In fact, make an extra effort to try out as much street food as you can, it’s made by real food-lovers more interested in flavour than being able to pay the rent. But if you can help them do that too I’m sure they’ll love you forever. And you’ll get to taste some of the freshest, most exquisite, diverse and mouth-watering food available to man. Or woman. Or dog. Fo’ serious.

J&W

Our Quest for the World’s Best Brownie

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Brownie has to be our favourite treat ever. With tea, for pudding, even for breakfast, it’s just amazing and a very well loved bake in both our houses, day or night. After realising just how much we love it, we decided to try and find the most amazing brownie recipe, in the world, ever. We have now developed our top three recipes and our top three bought-brownies (though our opinions on the matter do differ). But here’s the shortlist for now.

Best brownie recipes

After some disagreement, we decided to have two number 1s.

Joint 1. Most indulgent brownie.

200g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
80g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
65g plain flour
300g sugar
4 large eggs
dash of vanilla essence

Melt the butter and chocolate  in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water. Add the sugar to a bowl along with the vanilla essence. Pour in the chocolatey buttery mixture and stir well. Add the four eggs and mix. Sieve the flour into the bowl and beat until smooth and silky. Line a brownie tin with baking paper (neatly) and pour in the mixture. Bake for around 15 minutes at 170° until the outside is cakey and the middle is still a bit squidgy.

Joint 1. Best store-cupboard brownie

100g dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
125g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa (can be left out to make a less rich but gooier brownie)

Method as above, baking time is around 20 minutes.

3. Best brownie-style dessert: raspberry cheesecake brownie

BROWNIE
200g dark chocolate (save one square from the bar for the topping)
200g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
3 eggs
110g plain flour

CHEESECAKE
400g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs

TOPPING
300ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar
150g raspberries
1 square of chocolate (if you can trust yourself to not eat it whilst baking)

Make the brownie: melt the chocolate and meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs to the creamed butter and sugar one at a time and mix gently. Beat in the flour and mix until smooth. Add the chocolate and pour into a lined tin.
Make the cheesecake: combine the cheese, sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and be careful not to mix too vigorously as the eggs will separate. Pour on top of the brownie mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm. Allow to cool.

Make the topping: whip the cream and sugar until firm. Options here are to: add some raspberry juice to the cream mixture or add a few whole raspberries to the mixture to give it a nice pink colour. Do not cheat and add pink food colouring. This is not cool. Spread the pink cream over the cheesecake layer and press whole raspberries onto the top. Sprinkle over some grated chocolate if you’re feeling extravagant.

Best bought brownie

1. COOK Boston Brownie (W’s favourite)

Don’t be put off by the fact this brownie normally lives in the freezer, it is incredibly tasty and the fact it freezes is just a bonus. We bought it from a lovely frozen-food shop in Bristol, but have since learned you can buy it online here.

2. Kemi’s Café chocolate brownie, served warm with cream (J’s favourite)

They serve a huge range of cakes at Kemi’s café in Cardiff bay so we were in luck that we visited the day they had made brownies. Despite having visited several times since, I haven’t seen them again. Maybe next time, we’ll ask for the recipe and bake our own because life without these brownies just isn’t the same. Their menu doesn’t do them justice as a lot of the dishes change and it really depends what they’re making on the day.

3. Entropy’s brownie, served with raspberry sorbet

A huge helping of brownie with a lovely raspberry sorbet melting on the top. It made a incredible pudding and we would definitely order it again, but not quite good enough to bake at home. Check out their menu here but note that it changes regularly.

Having said all this, the point should be made that this is an ongoing quest. We will strive, for the good of people everywhere, to eat brownie until we burst in pursuit of perfection. That’s right, we’re just that nice.

Two Days in Bristol

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We spent the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Bristol and these are our foodie highlights:

1. The Archhouse Deli

A beautiful, impressively stocked deli/café that serves some nice cakes and incredible looking sandwiches (although unfortunately we didn’t have the appetite to try one). We had a slice of banana cake and a slice of apple cake and both were rather tasty, though in different ways. The apple cake was subtle and delicate whereas the banana cake was one massive banana hit, although personally I would have loved some dark chocolate chips. Check out their menu here.

2. Westfield Park Jubilee Street Party

While wondering around Clifton we stumbled across a street party. Sauntering up to take some arty-farty photos we were greeted with open arms and paper plates. Somehow we had timed our wandering to perfectly coincide with a bake-off! Approximately 50 different cakes were lined up, from cupcakes to fruitcakes and bakewells to brownies and we were told to taste them ALL and choose our favourite. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come very often so we had to pinch ourselves to check we were actually awake.

We couldn’t quite manage a taste of all, but we must have tried at least 10 between us. Jelly’s vote went to a squidgy, gooey Rhubard Crumble Cake and Whale’s went to some Raspberry and Blueberry cupcakes. We are awaiting recipes for both! Thanks to all the residents of Westfield Park for their hospitality!

3. COOK

COOK is a great shop that sells homemade frozen meals. And some bloody good brownie too. Check out their website here and use their store locator function to find your closest brownie! We demolished a whole block (apparently 6 servings) in a day. In fact our diet on Monday literally just consisted of tea and cake.

4. Cordial & Grace

A recently opened café that serves some quintessentially British afternoon tea with a twist. We tried both their savoury (cheese & mustard scones with cream cheese & chutney) and their sweet (ginger scones with clotted cream and rhubarb jam) options. Trying to pick a favourite is nigh on impossible. For us, the savoury wins on points (but that might just be because we are massive chutney whores). Here’s their menu.

There were many more wonderful looking cafés, pubs and restaurants we didn’t get a chance to try…maybe next time!

J&W