These brownies are, in our house, the brownies against which all other brownies are measured. In a world of fabulous brownies these are truly remarkable brownies.
These are the chocolatiest and, if baked just right, the fudgiest chocolate brownies in the history of the world – and no, I don’t believe that I am exaggerating. If you prefer a cakey brownie to a fudgey brownie, look away now.
These are dark, dense and, thanks to the melted chocolate, supremely and unapologetically indulgently, chocolatey. A mouthful of a phrase – which fits perfectly for this mighty brownie. These brownies are so good that they’ll be featuring in my new novel, Escape To Curlew Cottage.
They come from Nigella’s “Feast” and appear in that as Snow-flecked Brownies on account of the white chocolate chips in the recipe and the icing sugar you dust them with. And, indeed, they do look impressive at Christmas piled on a plate and dusted with sugary “snow”. We, however, aren’t big on white chocolate (is it really chocolate?) so I use milk chocolate bits in ours. When Claire makes them in Escape, she makes them in all their snow-flecked glory the way Nigella intended them to be made.
When it’s just us I make a half recipe and cook it in a small tin, but this week the brownies were going into work with Grant so a half recipe wasn’t going to cut it. As Nigella says:
Brownies start off by being one of the easiest things to cook and end up by being one of the best things you could ever eat.NIGELLA LAWSON “FEAST”
These are so easy to prepare and you don’t even need to get the stand mixer out. I use a little handheld beater to mix the egg and sugar, but a wooden spoon and a little arm action would do the job just as well.
Rather than measuring out 375g, I use two whole 200g blocks of dark cooking chocolate, which I attack with the rolling pin while it’s still in its packet to break it in into smaller pieces. By the time Sarah has stolen a square or three, I figure the weight is about right.
Oh, and you know that lovely almost meringuey crispness that you can get on top of brownies? If you beat the eggs and chocolate very well together you should get this.
Another thing, if you really love to keep the just out of the oven fudgieness without risking it firming up in the tin, just before you take them out of the oven put some cold water and ice in the bottom of a roasting tin and pop your brownies onto that to cool. It will immediately stop the cooking process.
And how cute is this plate? This one is a design by Shelley and (I think) dates back to the 1920s…hang on, that’s 100 years ago! I don’t have the cup and saucer that probably would have gone with it, but I think it’s so pretty.
Okay, without further ado, the recipe.
What you need…
- 375g butter (unsalted), chopped
- 375g dark chocolate – the really dark stuff 70% cocoa. Chop roughly or do as I do and smash it while it’s still in the packet with a rolling pin.
- 6 eggs
- 350g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 225g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 250g chocolate bits (white or milk) or good white chocolate, chopped
- icing sugar for dusting
What you do with it…
- Lightly grease a 33cm x 23cm tin and line with baking paper so that the paper overhangs the two long sides – this will help with lifting the slab out of the tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat
- In a bowl (I actually use a large jug) beat the eggs together with the caster sugar and vanilla extract.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little (you don’t want scrambled eggs), then add to the egg and sugar mixture and beat well.
- Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the chocolate bits.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and give the beater and bowl to the one who has come out of her bedroom upon hearing the mixer finish.
- Bake for approx 25 mins. It will crack a little on top and look a little splotchy when it’s done.
- When cool, cut into squares and dust over with icing sugar if you can get to them before they’re eaten.