Eight years ago last Friday, I met my husband-to-be. The next day I baked him brownies.
Back then, the thought of writing a food blog hadn’t even entered my head. The online world was a very different place: basic WordPress was only just up and running, Facebook in its infancy and YouTube launched that year. Blogs like Delicious Days and Seven Spoons might have just got started, but the idea of writing about food on the internet was still just the seed of an idea in the minds of Joy the Baker, Deb Perelman and numerous other bloggers we know and love today.
While my twenty year old self didn’t write about or photograph food (I had much more important things to do as a student, like getting drunk, watching daytime TV and occasionally attending lectures…), I absolutely loved to bake. So when Carnivorous Boyfriend came over for tea just a couple of days into our relationship, I decided to bake him a batch of brownies.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this incident on the blog before. While my Mum’s recipe for brownies is both incredible and fail safe, our ancient university oven was absolutely not and my brownies emerged crisp on the top but pretty much raw in the middle, puddles of molten chocolate pooling outwards as I attempted to cut them into squares. Luckily I managed to prevent myself from crying, swearing, stamping my feet or any of the other various emotions I’ve displayed at kitchen disasters over the years (the lucky boy has probably been subjected to more than enough of this in the years since, but you’ve got to retain some sort of air of mystery for those first few dates right?) and we both saw the funny side, happily tucking into our brownie soup by the spoonful.
Back then I could never have predicted we’d fall so completely and utterly in love, that we’d be getting married and that those were the first few days of the rest of our lives together. Neither could I have predicted that, almost eight years to the day, I’d be serving up a second round of chocolaty soup in the form of these slightly under-baked – but ever so delicious – chocolate peanut butter fondants.
I baked these for dessert on Friday night, pulling two seemingly picture perfect golden domes from the oven as utterly irresistible aromas of chocolate and peanut wafted round the kitchen. Tipped onto two plates, the fondants held their shape beautifully as I scooped over generous dollops of ice cream . . . before promptly collapsing in on themselves in a flood of molten chocolate. I’d forgotten to allow any additional baking time to make up for the hours they’d sat in the fridge during the day and they simply hadn’t been baked for long enough.
We ate our lava-like puddings with smiles on our faces and chocolate running down our chins, the hot liquid contrasting with cool ice cream to make the most amazingly decadent dessert. They may not have been perfect, but they tasted amazing and they made us both smile remembering that eight-year-old incident with the brownies.
Who knows what we’ll be eating in another eight years, what we’ll be doing and where this blog will be. Life is unpredictable, exciting and surprising and I’m quite happy to keep it like that. Provided, of course, that some sort of constant remains in the form of love. And chocolate, obviously.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondants (adapted from these Chocolate Fondants)
165g dark chocolate, chopped
85g smooth natural peanut butter (no added sugar)
20g butter, softened
75g golden caster sugar
2 large free range eggs + 1 yolk, beaten
Pinch fleur de sel
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Grease four little pudding moulds and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.
In a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of boiling water, melt the chocolate. Stir in the peanut butter and remove from the heat to cool slightly.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs until fully incorporated, then beat in the fleur de sel and vanilla extract followed by the cooled chocolate mixture.
Fold in the flour with a metal spoon until just combined then divide between the four moulds.
Bake your fondants for 10 minutes until set around the edges but slightly gooey in the middle. If you make them ahead and refrigerate, they will need an extra 2 – 3 minutes.
These fondants can also be baked in little ramekins and not turned out. Not quite as spectacular if they turn out right, but possibly a safer bet if you’re worried that you may have under-baked them. Either way, they will be delicious.