There’s a time and a place for boiling pans, sugar thermometers and endless beating with a wooden spoon. Forty eight hours before Christmas Day when you’re frantically trying to finish making and wrapping edible gifts for all your family and friends probably isn’t it. Throw a (not so) tiny ten month old explorer on the brink of walking into the equation and this 3-ingredient fudge was the elf to my slightly frantic Santa. Some might call it ‘cheat’s’ fudge – you simply mix together melted chocolate, condensed milk and cookies – but when something tastes this delicious, who’s going to begrudge the odd shortcut? Continue reading
Aside from a family sized tub of Celebrations (which disappeared with alarming speed), this fudge is the first sweet treat to pass through our brand new kitchen. We moved in last Thursday and while I’m eager to share some photos with you all, there hasn’t been a moment to take them in between long dark evenings and party-packed weekends. Suffice to say I’m thrilled with the vast new expanses of work surface and storage, our beautiful ceramic sink and a fridge big enough to fit all sorts of little loaf delights. Now, let’s talk fudge.
This is a recipe for anyone who has ever fought it out over the last crispy-edged piece from a pan of brownies.
I appreciate that this may not apply to everyone. Some people prefer the middle slice, an altogether more uniform and yielding experience, devoid of any edges, contrast and – dare I say it? – character. Of course I’m not going to judge you on your brownie preferences (ok, maybe I am), but they do say that variety is the spice of life and there’s something about the contrast of texture as crisp, chewy crust melds into smooth, fudgy middle that makes a brownie pretty much perfect in my eyes. Continue reading
When I was young, an old lady at the bottom of our garden used to bring us brownies. Not literally, of course – she lived on the next street along and her house backed onto ours – but I used to love the silly image this reference conjured up; a little old lady tucked away amongst the shrubs and fairies, happily baking brownies somewhere between the garden shed and the compost heap.
This neighbour of ours lived alone – her kids had worked abroad, eventually settling in the States – and every so often she’d come round to babysit, armed with a plate of dark, chewy brownies. I don’t know if it was something to do with the seeming exoticism of her far flung family, but I always associated these treats with America. I knew they were brownies, but their crisp crust and chewy texture felt a far cry from the cakier, fudgey version I sometimes made with my Mum. Continue reading
How do you like your chocolate cake? Dense and fudgey? Moist and crumbly? Dark and bitter, or sweet and sinful?
I couldn’t pick a favourite. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I have a slight obsession with chocolate. And cake. While I have a couple of fall-back favourites up my sleeve (see Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake and Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake), I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to indulge in my favourite ingredient. Which is why I just had to try this incredible flourless chocolate mousse cake. Taken from the Ottolenghi cookbook, it essentially promises two cakes in one; the bottom layer cooked longer for a firm, cakey texture, while the top layer remains lighter and more mousse-like. Continue reading
Do you have a best ever brownie? Most people I know either have, or are looking for, the ultimate recipe. There’s a lot of debate as to what constitutes this holy grail of tea-time treats, with opinion generally split between the crumbly cakey camp and fans of a dense, more fudgey fix. I side with the latter – I like my brownies rich and dark with a gooey chocolate centre and slightly crispy crust.
When I was a child our go-to brownie recipe was a Jocelyn Dimbleby classic that ticked all the boxes. Copied onto a piece of paper long before the internet became a household staple, it lived (and probably still does) folded, dog-eared and smeared with sticky chocolate fingerprints inside an ancient Mrs Beeton cookery book on our kitchen bookshelf. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve made that recipe, and it’s been passed on to people we know around the country, feeding family, friends and multiple generations (ok, that sounds a bit epic but it is a bloody good recipe…)
A couple of weeks ago I posted the results of my recent quest for the perfect chocolate chunk cookie. Dense and chewy, with a crispy edge and large dark chocolate chunks, these giant cookies were definitely up there. But perfection isn’t a finite thing, and yesterday I decided to rustle up another batch, using the lessons I’d learnt from last time round.
If you’ve read many of my previous posts on this blog, you’ll know that I love chocolate and I love baking. It’s been a while since I last made brownies, and a pre-Easter dinner party at a friend’s flat this week seemed like the perfect excuse to try a new recipe. I’ve been reading David Lebowitz‘s gorgeous blog for a while now, and amongst a number of delicious looking recipes, I’d bookmarked these amazing looking Dulce de Leche brownies.
If you’ve not tried Dulce de Leche before, now is your moment. Literally ‘milk sweetness’ or ‘milk candy’, it’s an unctuously thick caramel-like sauce made from sweetened condensed milk, and one of the most delicious things you’re ever likely to put in your mouth. Continue reading
A simple, incredible chocolate cake is like a little black dress; everyone should have one in their culinary wardrobe. So says Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall of River Cafe and Cottage fame. I’m not sure about Hugh’s taste in in evening wear, but his ‘Easy rich chocolate cake’ from River Cottage Everyday is definitely the kind of staple recipe every girl should have up her sleeve. Rich, moist and velvety, this is an intense chocoholic hit, and the perfect dessert to rustle up for any occasion.
I made this for a group of friends for Sunday lunch and served it with a wickedly indulgent thick whiskey cream . . . Sadly I don’t have any photos of this- by the time I had my camera out the whole bowl had been wolfed.
Warning *excess consumption of said little black cake may result in inability to fit into your favourite little black dress*
Easy rich chocolate cake (from River Cottage Everyday)
250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250g unsalted butter, cubed
4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
100g caster sugar
100g soft brown or muscovado sugar
50g plain flour
50g ground almonds
Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 3.
Melt butter and chocolate together and leave to cool.
Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar til well combined., then add the cooled chocolate mixture. Combine the flour and almonds and fold these in, too.
In separate bowl, whisk the egg whites til they hold firm peaks. Stir large spoonful of egg white into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest of the whites, taking care to keep in as much air as possible. Use lrge metal spoon – this will keep the cake light and velvety.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for approx. 30 mins until just set. I checked mine after 25 and suggest you do the same. It should still be slightly wobbly in the centre – this will then set into a sticky, fudgy chocolate dream once cooled. Leave at least 15 mins before releasing from the tin and serving with boozy whiskey cream (recipe below).
200ml thick whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
Good slug of your favourite whiskey
Whip cream, then stir in sugar and whiskey, adjusting measures to taste. Taste again. One more spoon. . . And serve.
I love chocolate. I love brownies. And I’ve used the same tried and tested recipe for as long as I can remember. Dating from when my mum had to test it for a cookery book years ago, ‘Best Ever Chocolate Brownies’ is a recipe that is lovingly scribbled on a piece of A4 paper in my eight-year-old handwriting, smeared with the chocolatey remains of numerous baking sessions over the years, and lives folded in half inside at old Mrs Beeton at my parents’ house.
Now I’m a big bad grown up with my own kitchen. When I wanted to whizz up a batch of brownies to take round to some friends, I couldn’t remember the exact details of that sacred recipe. So, in the interests of trying new things for this blog, I googled around, pinched ideas from various recipes I found and combined them to produce this quick, simple, one-pot (almost) batch of brownies.
They’re so easy to make, and completely delicious – no photo could do justice to their squidgy, dark, chocolatey joy. Served warm they ooze outwards, bulging and baring their barely cooked centres. Cooled they transform to pack a more intense fudgy punch.
Easy chocolate brownies
250g salted butter
200g dark cooking chocolate
100g white chocolate chips
350g soft brown sugar
4 large free range eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F
- Grease and line a 24cm sq. tin
- Melt the butter and sugar together over a bain marie. Leave to cool
- Sift together cocoa, flour and baking powder then stir in the sugar and cooled chocolate and butter mixture
- Add the beaten egg and stir all ingredients to combine
- Bake in the oven for about 25 mins. You want them to stay fudgey and gorgeous, so take them out earlier rather than later, and before an inserted skewer comes out clean.