Some approximation of brownies…

I found a recipe which doesn’t need baking powder or cocoa! If you thought I was going to be limited to pancakes for the year, think again! It’s the Hummingbird Bakery’s brownie recipe, which I found here, and though I didn’t have quite everything the recipe called for, I managed a pretty decent job (if I say it myself!). Unlike other brownie recipes I saw, which called for strange kinds of sugar – or at least, ones the average student probably doesn’t have lying around for tea-making – baking powder, nuts, cocoa, coconut oil and all sort of unlikely ingredients, this one is very simple, in terms of both ingredients and procedure. My friend’s best chocolate cake recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery, so I knew it should be reliable, and so it turned out to be. Even if I did have to bake it in a casserole dish. And convert some of the measurements to cups in the absence of scales. (Not that I had a cup measure: I just used my mug and hoped!) It turned out well, although I probably could have left it in the oven a little longer as the centre was still very gooey; thankfully, though, I that’s how I like it best!

It felt good to be baking again – I can’t actually remember the last time I did! And as my classes so far have been fairly straightforward and not set much work, perhaps this is the year to perfect my skills and enter the Great British Bake Off… Actually I just remembered the disastrous fatless sponge…I have a long way to go…!

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate (the only stuff I could get had ‘pepites’ in, which are crunchy bits of cocoa nib I think, but it didn’t seem to affect the finished product too much)

175g butter

325g caster sugar (or in my case, just over 1 and a half mugs full of granulated…)

130g plain flour (I used one mugful)

3 eggs (I whisked them slightly before I added them)

100g white chocolate, roughly chopped, or white chocolate chips (this isn’t in the original recipe but, well, you can never have too much chocolate, right?!)

23 x 33 x 5cm baking tin, or in my case an oval casserole dish, approx. 23 x 28 cm at the widest points, greased and lined.

– Preheat the oven to 170c

– Break the chocolate into pieces and chop the butter into chunks. Place both in a mixing bowl and melt, either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water.

– Add the sugar and stir until all combined.

– Add the flour and stir to combine.

– Add the eggs and mix to combine thoroughly, then stir in the white chocolate; avoid mixing too much otherwise it will melt.

– Pour into the tin (or casserole dish!) and bake for 30-35 minutes (if you have a baking tin; mine took 40-45 mins and as I said was still soggy in the middle).

– Leave in the tin to cool before cutting.

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Spanish supermarkets do not sell baking powder. This saddens me.

This was breakfast a couple of days ago: chocolate con churros in the Plaza Mayor (main square). The hot chocolate here isĀ so thick and so yummy, and churros are sort of like doughnuts…so it’s not the healthiest of snacks but definitely one of the best! They didn’t come out so well in the photo as they were in the shade (and because I’m a terrible photographer at the best of times and was using my phone camera). Hopefully this photo captures a little bit of the amazingness of sitting outside in the square eating them though!

So, as I mentioned briefly in my previous post, I am currently on my year abroad in Spain! Our university had kindly organised for us to stay in halls, so when I discovered that the only cooking equipment I had was a microwave I thought this blog would have to undergo a rapid change of theme. But! Fear not! The halls turned out to be essentially boarding school, with a whole bunch of unreasonable rules and even more unreasonable prices, so we left. Freedom! And, more importantly, an oven! Yes, my new piso (flat) has a functioning oven, AND I have a three day weekend! Great, I thought, plenty of time for baking. Alas, our nearest supermarket doesn’t seem to stock baking powder, cocoa or self-raising flour. What?! Have I been thwarted, again? Well, hopefully not, as I am now going to embark on a quest for baking essentials and begin a year of baking! First step: looking up the Spanish names of these ingredients, just in case they’re on the shelf in disguise!

Wish me luck…!