Chocolate Brownie

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A well stocked store cupboard should contain all of the ingredients needed for this recipe.  Walnuts are optional, and can easily be excluded without affecting the recipe if you like.  So, let’s get started…
100g (4oz) Plain flour
4 eggs
225g (8oz) Caster sugar
225g (8oz) Butter
50g (2oz) Cocoa Powder
2.5ml (½tsp) Baking Powder
7.5ml (1½tsp) Vanilla Extract
100g (4oz) Chocolate, chopped/Chocolate drops
16 walnut halves (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.

2. Grease a 9″ square tin and line the base with baking parchment.  I’ve found the best performing baking parchment is this one from Lakeland Limited.  I’ve used it loads and, so far, it’s never stuck on me.

3. In your bowl place your flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, baking powder, and vanilla.  Mix together for several minutes until thoroughly combined.  I used my Kenwood Major on high speed for 4 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible.

4. Add the chocolate drops and stir until just mixed.

5. Pour into  your prepared tin, smooth the top and place 16 walnut halves on top to mark out each of the 16 pieces your brownie will be cut into.

6. Bake for 40-45 minutes.  You will notice that the top of a brownie sometimes ‘bursts’ through as it cooks.  This is normal; don’t worry.

7. Test the brownie in the centre with a cocktail stick.  If it comes out fairly clean (a little bit of ‘goo’ is ok, but not lots!) then your brownie is cooked. If the cocktail stick is still very wet, then place the brownie back into the oven for 5 minutes and test again.  If the top is browning too much, then place a sheet of foil loosely over the tin for the last 10 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven.  Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes in the tin, then make sure that the edges aren’t stuck to your tin (use a plastic spatula if you’re using a non-stick metal tin.  Turn out onto your wire cooking rack.

Can be served either warm – with custard, cream or ice cream – or left to go cold and enjoyed with a nice cuppa while you put your feet up!

Enjoy!

Rosie
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Rosie’s Christmas Rum butter

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Tradition in our house is to serve Christmas pudding with rum butter. Why rum? Well my dad was a Submariner in the Royal Navy when he was younger and is still partial to a ‘tot’ of rum that they used to be served on board daily. Mum therefore created her own accompaniment based on this love of rum and it’s been served up ever since.

It’s so easy to make; just 3 simple ingredients.

250g (8oz) butter, softened
500g (1lb) icing sugar
A good splash (or even a glug) of dark rum

I trust the wonderful Kenny to whizz this together for me, but you can use a hand mixer if you don’t have one of these gorgeous machines.

1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl.

2. Start by mixing slowly until the icing sugar and butter are just combined (starting slowly prevents a huge sugar dust storm enveloping the whole of you & your kitchen).

3. When this is just combined, turn the speed up to maximum and beat for 4-5 minutes until light & fluffy.

4. Taste and add more rum if required.

5. Spoon into little dishes and refrigerate until required.

This will keep for as long as your butter is in date. In this case about 6 weeks until 6th February 2012. No chance of that in my house of course as the family are coming for Christmas dinner and all adore rum butter on their pudding. It’s also got to last until Christmas day (I’ll be watching for the fridge raiders!)

A tasty alternative is to heat a mince pie for 20 seconds in the microwave and then add a generous dollop of your rum butter on top. Leave for a short while to start to melt the butter & enjoy with your feet up whilst listening to a lovely Christmas carol or two!

Alternatives to rum would be any liqueur or spirit such as whisky, brandy, Grand Marnier (for an orange kick).

Let me know if you try it.

Merry Christmas!

Rosie
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