By Val the Cookie Queen
I have had this need to feed people since quite a young age. I could analyze this, go to a therapist, or do yoga. But I decided just to accept it and make money out of it instead. We have had a year now of Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen and there are more to come. But today I want to share some of the recipes that contributed to me to becoming the Cookie Queen.
Brownies are of course named for their colour, and they have been around since the late 1890s. They are really an American speciality. And as much as we like to complain about a lot of American foods, their home baked goods are fantastic. I have after all had a business based around them for more than twenty years. Brownies are divided into two basic categories; cake-like and fudge-like. You can skip the cake-like, there is only one kind of brownie, and that is a fudgy one.
This recipe is exactly the one that I use for my customers. If you do what it says you will have perfect brownies. (It may surprise you the number of people who tell me that their stuff does not turn out like mine. And when I question them closer it is always because they did not follow the bloody instructions. “Oh I did not have an 8″square pan, so I used a casserole dish instead.” FFS.
100 grammes of unsweetened chocolate MELTED. (You only need about 90 but have to allow for tasting or something remaining in the bowl, so use 100 to start.). Use the absolute best quality as this is not Rumplelstiltskin, crap chocolate does not turn into gold.)
4 ounces of softened butter (112g).
1 cup of brown sugar (the soft moist kind). If you cannot get it use white, it is not as good.
1tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup of flour (about 85g)
Good pinch of salt (added to the flour)
170 grammes of chopped chocolate. (I use about 2/3 milk and 1/3 white but whatever … )
Line your 8 inch square brownie pan with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/backpapier – whatever you call it.
METHOD – read this through several times before starting!
Preheat the oven to 350°f or 170°c.
Get everything ready and in front of you. Always. it is the only way to work and to avoid making mistakes.
Now then, I melt my chocolate, which I have cut into very small pieces, in a microwave. Yes, I know you are not supposed to. Melt it slowly and on a LOW wattage. Open the door every 20 seconds and give it a stir until it is all beautifully liquid. Make sure the bowl you use is totally clean and dry before putting the chocolate into it and melting it.
Beat the butter and the sugar together with an electric hand mixer, or Kitchen Aid, or with a wooden spoon if you have nothing else. Add the warmish melted chocolate to it. (Not boiling hot of course, otherwise it will melt the lot!) Add the vanilla. Beat it all together, but no need to beat it to death.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the flour and salt. You can fold it in with a spatula, or slowly blend with the machine. And then add and fold in your chopped chocolate chunks. Turn the batter into your lined pan, and level the surface.
Put into your PREHEATED oven. Mine take about 28 minutes to bake but this time could vary with different ovens, I cook with a fan oven. I would say between 25 and 30 mins max. You can see if they are done by the way the top will look kind of shiny and dry. Don’t be scared to open the oven and put a toothpick into the middle of them and see if it comes out with crumbs or dripping batter. Gooey crumbs are ideal.
Take them out. Let them cool. I then take them out of the pan, and carefully take the paper off, reline the pan with waxed paper or whatever, and put the brownies back in. I then keep them there until they have been eaten. Unless I am selling them, obviously, Then they get packed.
And remember a brownie is not a cake. Very rich. Adjust size accordingly. You know how to tell the difference when looking at recipes? A fudgy brownie will always have more sugar in it than flour.
I forgot to take a picture of adding the chocolate chinks, but I think you can imagine it huh?