I’ve had a couple of emails asking for a brownies recipe to accompany the blondies I posted here a few weeks ago. Your wish, dear reader, is my command.
These brownies are very easy to make. They’re squodgy, squishy, chocolatey and have that lovely caramel-nut flavour that only toasted pecans can give. It’s very easy to adapt this recipe – if you want to try toasted hazelnuts instead of the pecans, or to add some chocolate chips, you have my blessing.
For families who fight over the slices of brownie which have come from the edge of the tin (the pieces with a crisp, chewy edge and a wonderful gradation of softness into the middle), there’s a solution to your problems: the Edge Brownie Pan. This baking tin is designed like paths in a maze, and ensures that every slice of brownie you bake has at least two edges. (The cook deserves the pieces with three.) I really must buy one of these.
Use a chocolate which has as high a percentage of cocoa solids as you can find. To make a large tray (mine measures 10 x 14 inches, just right for making enough brownies for a party), you’ll need:
1 pat salted butter (8 oz, or 110 g)
4 oz (100g) plain dark chocolate, high in cocoa solids
1 lb (450g) caster sugar
4 oz (100g) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
6 oz (150g) toasted pecan nuts
Preheat the oven to 180° C (350°F).
Melt the butter and chocolate together. You can use the microwave or a bowl suspended over some boiling water (a bain marie).
While the butter and chocolate are melting, beat the eggs, salt and sugar together with the vanilla essence, and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and sieve the flour into the bowl. Stir until everything is well blended.
Turn out the brownie mix into the lined tin, and sprinkle the pecans over the raw batter. (I prefer to add the pecans to the mix when it’s in the tray rather than adding them in the bowl, as it means you’ll get a more even distribution.) Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the mixture starts to come away from the sides and the top has a dry, crackling look to it. It will still be soft in the centre.
While the brownies are still hot from the oven, divide into squares. After about ten minutes they will have firmed up enough to transfer to racks to cool.