An indestructible recipe for chocolate brownies

I am in the habit of finding a recipe I like and then making it compulsively for weeks on end, until I have perfected it. What usually happens, though, is that by the time nirvana is reached, I really can’t stomach another bite.

This chocolate brownie recipe, which produces dense little squares of the most perfect, gooey brownie, is one recipe that I make again and again. But while I’ve been making it for weeks – nay months – in pursuit of perfection, I have yet to get sick of it. Troubling for my waistline, perhaps, but indicative of an excellent chocolate brownie recipe, I would say.

Chocolate brownie2This recipe is a purer brownie than my Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies, which really aren’t all that chocolatey. Inspired by BBC Good Food, I have simplified and tweaked the recipe, with the inclusion of walnuts and whatever type of chocolate takes my fancy – pistachio, orange and butterscotch are some that have worked extremely well in the past.

Treat the recipe below as a starting point – a blank canvas for the projection of your innermost chocolatey desires. It’s incredibly easy to make and very difficult to do wrong. I have made it on the hoof countless times. I’ve made it with the wrong type of sugar, the wrong type of flour and sometimes both, and it has never come out badly. While this might demonstrate my lack of discerning on the subject of brownies, I prefer to think it demonstrates an indestructible recipe.

Makes: 24 small squares or 12 generous chunks

Time needed: 1 hour

What you need

185g butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature

185g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (use the best you can get – I prefer 80% cocoa solids)

3 eggs

250g sugar

85g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

75g other chocolate, broken into pieces (this can be a combination of dark, white, milk, flavoured – whatever takes your fancy)

30g walnuts, chopped roughly

 

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (fan oven). Grease and line a 20cm square tin.
  2. Place a small pan of water over a medium heat, and put a Pyrex bowl over the water. Take care to ensure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  3. Tip the butter and the dark chocolate pieces into the bowl, and allow to melt slowly. Stir occasionally to combine. This should take about 15 minutes in total.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, in a separate bowl combine the sugar and eggs using an electric beater (you can do this in a food processor too, of course). Beat until the mixture becomes pale and mousse-y. This can take around 5 minutes, so be patient.
  5. When the chocolate and butter have melted and combined into a glorious, syrupy gloss, turn off the heat and carefully remove the bowl from the pan. Allow to cool for a few moments.
  6. Tip the chocolate into the egg-sugar mix, and use a spatula or wooden spoon to carefully combine the two.
  7. Now add the flour and the cocoa powder. Again, take care when combining the two mixtures, as you don’t want to knock the air out of them.
  8. Finally, tip in the remaining chocolate pieces and the chopped walnuts and stir to evenly distribute.
  9. Pour the mixture into the tin. To ensure an even distribution, tap the tin gently on your work surface a few times.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top looks crackly and shiny. You want the insides to be gooey but the edges to be coming away from the tin.
  11. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and devouring.
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