There are many cakes that I will probably, through lack of knowledge of their existence, never bake. But a brownie is not one of them. Although to be fair, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have even considered making them at home and not just buying them to eat when meeting friends at the coffee shop.
Brownies have recently become synonymous with morning coffee, perhaps in part due to their American origins, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it is more likely because they compliment a hot drink wonderfully, so they, like so many other cakes, have naturally veered towards the morning or afternoon ‘nibble’ slot. Although according to thenibble.com brownies are actually a bar cookie as opposed to a cake because,
“…brownies are finger food, like cookies, and cake is eaten with a fork”
I don’t know about you, but I can eat cake very nicely without a fork, thank-you. Moreover, I always presumed the classification process was more about how the item was baked and it’s consistency. But who am I to argue? Although there is another issue, on our little island, regarding whether it should be taxed or not, based on the classification of whether the food is a biscuit or cake. And for those of you who are the slightest bit interested, may I guide you to the ‘Jaffa Cake Fiasco’ for more, vitally important and gripping details. *Ahem*
Meanwhile, the brownie recipe I follow is a gloriously simple one, promoted by the one and only Nigella Lawson, who, for any of you that didn’t see it, read out with wonderful precision, the Eurovision results for our little island this year. A show dedicated to all things gloriously ironic and ever so slightly camp. Perfect for our sense of humour.
And now let me shimmy, seamlessly, to the ingredients. You will need 375g butter, 375g good dark chocolate. Melt together, leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, mix together 225g plain flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 300g chopped nuts (usually walnuts, but yesterday I did a mixture of walnuts, pecans and almonds simply because I didn’t have enough walnuts) into a bowl. Then add six large eggs, 500g castor sugar and 1 tablespoonful of vanilla extract into another bowl and whisk together.
When the melted chocolate mix has cooled slightly, add the whisked egg mixture and then the flour nut combo. Pour into a greased and lined rectangular dish, depending on the size of brownie you would like.
Cook at gas mark 4 for around 25 minutes. As soon as the mixture stops wobbling, and the top has cracked and turned a lighter brown, whip them out of the oven and leave to cool before cutting.
Make a coffee (or tea) and sit down, brownie in one hand, drink in the other, for five minutes – or 30 seconds in my case – of absolute pleasure.