I believe “oh, it’s Saturday” counts as a good enough reason to make brownies. That or, you know, the far more sensible “my grandparents are coming over” will do.
A running cosmic joke seems to be that I never seem to actually have any chocolate on hand – or, at least, not enough – when I want to make a chocolate dessert. It’s such a vicious, vicious circle. And so, I’ve looked long and hard for a brownie recipe that didn’t actually require chocolate.
The search for a recipe was long, and I grumbled and sighed and was generally A Very Unpleasant Person to be around while it lasted. When I found one that was short and simple, I was pleasantly surprised; and tested it and tested it to my heart’s content. Everyone I’ve baked it for so far liked it – even, magnificently, the grandparents. Score!
Brownies with Cocoa
Adapted from Donna Hay
Time: Around an hour to make, including the time in the oven.
Serves: 16 (or, you know, 6).
5.3 oz (150 grams) of butter
1 1/4 cups (275 grams) of superfine caster sugar
3/4 cup (75 grams) of cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup (75 grams) of flour
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
This gives you about 10-15 minutes to do the rest of the recipe.
- Melt butter, caster sugar and cocoa in a thick-bottomed pan, on low heat.
A higher flame will mean a faster melt, but a slightly lower flame means a smoother mixture. Personally, I like to start mine with a higher flame and then go lower after about a minute. Oh, and do use a thick-bottomed pan, otherwise your mixture will stick and be all Matthew Wilder at you. It’s not pretty.
- Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth, and then spoon it into a bowl. Add three eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and sift the flour over the bowl. Whisk until mixed.
I usually use a relatively large teaspoon of vanilla extract, but a few attempts have ensured me that, really, it does not matter all that much, as long as you stop before tablespoons. Oh, and if you don’t have any vanilla extract, vanilla sugar works just as well!
- Put the mixture into a square, 8 inch (20 cm) tin, lined with baking paper. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
I take my brownies out of the oven when the centre is just about ready set, because I really like my brownies sticky. It requires some patience the last ten minutes, but it’s so worth it. I’ve also tried this recipe in differently shaped tins, and it makes no difference to my knowledge. Except for, well, the next step gets a bit tricky, but no one minds smaller brownies.
- Let the brownies cool in the tin, and cut into squares to serve.
Have you tried this recipe? What did you think?