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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Yummy spiced fudge-y blondies!

As you can tell from the title, I wasn’t quite sure what to call these. What I am sure about, though, is that they are one of the best – if not the best – thing we have ever baked, and really easy as well! They taste a bit of butterscotch, and the spices – especially the cardamom – really come through. Yummy! The recipe comes from Edd Kimber’s ‘The Boy Who Bakes’, and he calls them ‘Speculaas blondies’, but I hadn’t heard of speculaas, which are apparently a Belgian biscuit with the same spice combination. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between brownies and blondies, either – I think it’s that blondies use lighter coloured sugar…? Anyway these were delicious: incredibly rich, almost like eating sweets, so we cut them into quite small squares (but they got eaten very quickly!) As you can see from the photos, it rose in the oven and then fell in the middle as it cooled which gave it a yummy chewy crust!

Ingredients:

225g butter

1 teaspoon ground ginger

A quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg

A quarter teaspoon ground cloves

An eighth of a teaspoon ground cardamom pods – I used the seeds of about 4 pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar

400g light brown sugar

2 eggs

250g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

80g chocolate (dark or milk)

 

– Preheat the oven to 180c and grease and line a 23 x 33 cm baking tin (ours was actually more like 20 x 28 cm!). Make sure the greaseproof paper sticks up over the sides in case it rises too much, and to make it easier to remove.

– Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the butter and cook for five minutes, stirring all the time.

– Take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool for 5 minutes.

– Add the eggs – as the mixture is still hot they might start cooking straight away so we whisked them beforehand and then whisked the mixture quite quickly as we added them.

– Fold in the flour until just combined (don’t mix it too much) then stir in the chocolate. We added it at the same time as the flour by mistake, so it all melted into the mixture!

– Bake for around 30 minutes until the edges look just cooked.

– Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares – the original recipe says to leave it overnight but we just couldn’t wait that long so cut the first pieces when it was still a bit warm…!