Monday, 14 January 2013

A chocolate hug

There is lots of snow across parts of the UK today and although it has not hit us here just yet, the cold is making me think of curling up by the fire with a mug of hot tea and - you guessed it - chocolate...or cake...or both rolled into one.  Whether you like it dark & bitter, milky-silky or simply any type in large amounts, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate does the trick...and so do these lovely brownies.

Studded with little chunks of white chocolate they are gloriously rich; divine as an afternoon treat served with a little vanilla ice cream on the side.  A small piece goes quite a long way but fear not, these freeze well for when you next need a chocolate hug. 


  • 185g butter
  • 185g good quality dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 50g white chocolate (you can omit this completely if you don't have any to hand - just increase the amount of milk chocolate)
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

Makes 16 squares or 32 triangles
Ready in 1 hour, inc cooling 

  1. Cut 185g butter into smallish cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break the 185g dark chocolate into small pieces and drop into the bowl. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then put the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat, stirring occasionally to mix them. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Alternatively, cover the bowl loosely with cling film and put in the microwave for 2 minutes on High. Leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature.  
  2. While you wait for the chocolate to cool, preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4.  Line a shallow 20cm square tin with non-stick baking parchment. Now sieve 85g plain flour and 40g cocoa powder together into a medium bowl, getting get rid of any lumps.
  3. With a large sharp knife, chop 50g white chocolate and 50g milk chocolate into chunks on a board. .
  4. Break 3 large eggs into a large bowl and add 275g golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer or balloon whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take a few minutes. You'll know it's ready when the mixture becomes really pale and has increased in volume. 
  5. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture from step 1 over the eggy mousse (step 4), then gently fold together with a rubber spatula. This is best done in a figure of eight, moving the bowl round after each folding so you can get at it from all sides, until the two mixtures are one and the colour is a mottled dark brown. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like.
  6. Add the cocoa and flour mixture from step 2 to the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and gently fold in this powder using the same figure of eight action as before. The mixture will look dry and dusty at first, and a bit unpromising, but if you keep going very gently and patiently, it will end up looking gungy and fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don't want to overdo this mixing. Finally, stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks until they're dotted throughout. 
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping every bit out of the bowl with the spatula (*or as the Happy Larder likes to do, leave a couple of bits "by mistake", so you can lick the bowl). Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and move the spatula from side to side across the top to level it. Put in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Once the time is up, gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it's not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Take out of the oven.
  8. Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold, then, if you're using the brownie tin, lift up the protruding rim slightly and slide the uncut brownie out on its base. If you're using a normal tin, lift out the brownie with the foil. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares and finally into triangles. These brownies are so addictive you'll want to make a second batch before the first is finished, but if you want to make some to hide away for a special occasion, it's useful to know that they'll keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.
(original recipe from the BBC Good Food website)

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