So a few months ago I told you about my favourite brownie recipes.
Well! There have been some changes since then – I’ve been experimenting with other brownie recipes and making up my own recipes to try to figure out what the key is.
So what is the key to gorgeous brownies?
Obviously, brownie needs chocolate, but believe it or not there are plenty of recipes that just use cocoa, or only a few squares of chocolate. But the best way to go, if you want an intense, chocolatey hit is to use real dark chocolate (not cooking chocolate!!!) I generally don’t use the super-expensive dark chocolate (that costs $30 per kilo), I just use dark eating chocolate, but if you prefer the flavour of the super expensive stuff, then go for it. Now, I know some people don’t like dark chocolate, but believe me, you’ll appreciate it in the brownies! And you’ll be glad to know that I think 80% dark chocolate might be over doing it, but I find that 45% is fine so long as you have some cocoa in the recipe too.
That brings me to cocoa. I think some people feel like it’s not real brownie if it has cocoa in it. And I understand the sentiment, but I think it’s misguided. For all my experimentation, cocoa seems key to making a rich, intense brownie, which is certainly what I’m looking for! And honestly, any cocoa will do. But I avoid the Cadbury cocoa, as it has a very light flavour and doesn’t add much to the brownie!
Now, I’m sure I could go through every ingredient in the recipe and discuss it’s importance and which brand is better, but really, the only other thing I think you really need to know about a good brownie is how long you bake it for. The key with brownie is essentially to under-bake it.
With cakes, you’re always told that it is cooked when no mixture or crumbs come out on a skewer, or that it will bounce back when slightly depressed. But if you want to make a great brownie, throw out all that cake knowledge right now! If your brownie bounces back, it’s not brownie, it’s a chocolate cakey-slicey thing. No brownie skewer should ever come out clean! I know it sounds terrifying and dangerous (as much as baking can be dangerous…), but trust me, this is the key! So, brownie generally only takes around 20 minutes to bake, and it should be completely dry on top, hopefully with some flaky bits. When you insert a skewer it should have some goo on it, but the goo should be glossy and if you move it around with your fingers a bit it should firm up. This is indicative of how the brownie will firm up as it cools.
Basically, it’s a lot of trial and error, but just try it and see what happens. For the first few times I was convinced I was taking the brownie out of the oven too early, but it was perfect timing! And besides, even if you do take them out too early they should still firm up in the fridge and they’ll just be extra fudgey (and there is nothing wrong with fudge!)
And now for my favourite recipe so far (Nigella’s a close second!)
My Favourite Brownies
Adapted from here
115g dark chocolate, chopped
160g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
75g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa
- Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 20cm square pan or there abouts with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring gently. Once completely melted, turn off the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour and cocoa then the eggs, mixing until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the brownie is dry and the batter sets on cooling (see above). Then cut and feast!