Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies (mealsavers)

I’m a keen user of delicious, which is a fantastic electronic way of keeping together all those things that in real life I’d have on bits of paper floating around the house (and driving Andy up the wall).

It turns out I have 27 brownie recipes tagged (let’s not even talk about the 100+ chocolate cake recipes) and I thought that there’s no point in having these recipes tagged and never looking at them, let alone cooking them. Normally I’m the type of cook who likes to try something out at home first before inflicting it on others, but with this ridiculous number of recipes I decided I needed to bit the bullet and start cooking. If other people don’t like it, then tough luck.

Being me, I am going to work backwards through the recipes (chronological order) so this is one I tagged on 7 April 2009. I still lived in England then! This is from the mealsavers website, about which I know nothing.

I was horrified by the idea of using ½ kilo of sugar in a recipe so I decided half measures were in order (yes, I know that doesn’t change the proportions). This recipe has the bonus that you don’t need to melt chocolate and butter together. If you use the microwave it’s not such a pain to do that but it does slow things down a bit so if you are after a super quick brownie recipe this may be for you!

Begin by creaming 175g of unsalted butter with 250g of caster sugar. When the mixture is light and fluffy add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. Add 65g of self raising flour and 65 g of cocoa powder (both sifted) and beat well. I also added 1 tsp of baking powder at this point. Finish by adding 50g of pecan nuts and 75g of chocolate drops. For this I used the flat beater and my KitchenAid – you don’t really want to use a food processor for this recipe as it will decimate your nuts and chocolate drops.

Pour into a baking paper lined dish and bake at 160°C fan for about 40 minutes (or until done). The original recipe says 20-25 minutes and I found this woefully inadequate. Perhaps my brownies were a lot thicker.

The finished product was well received (after the wails of “oh no, don’t change recipes, we like your OTHER brownies“). People who like nuts in their brownies will, obviously, like them. The brownies themselves are very rich and chewy – not only do they taste like they have a LOT of sugar in them, but the butter is very evident too.  In fact, if I were to make these again (after I’ve made the other 20 odd brownies) I’d try cutting back on the butter a tad.

Aside from the really scary amount of sugar in these, I’ll definitely keep them in mind when I need to make brownies in a hurry.

More Chocolate Brownies

chocolate brownies - gluten free

Here we’re gearing up for the baby’s first birthday which means thinking a LOT about the catering for his afternoon tea party. As the baby will be unaware of the significance of the event, and most likely a bit annoyed that strange people have turned up in numbers to interrupt his afternoon play, the party is all about what I like to eat. That’s why it’s afternoon tea.

One of my relatives is a coeliac (or celiac, if you’re American) and I actually find it rather fun to try out recipes that she’ll be able to eat. It’s actually surprising how easy gluten is to work around. However, one thing I haven’t investigated too much is gluten free baking – dessert wise there’s loads of things you can do without gluten so I’ve just never bothered.

I have hundreds of baking recipes tagged in delicious and I thought it was time I made a departure from what has become my standard caramel chocolate brownie. I had a recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess tagged, but realised it wouldn’t do on several counts (the coconut oil, the measurements in cups, the huge amount of vanilla). Karina had based her version on a reader’s version and, after some sums, some substitution and some tasting during production I came up with this very easy, but also very tasty, recipe. The finished brownie is super squidgy in the middle and has a crisp crust which manages at the same time to be chewy.

The best compliment came from Andy who commented “well, you wouldn’t even know they’re gluten free”.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan).

Melt 150g dark chocolate with 100g of unsalted butter. If you are aiming for dairy free as well as gluten free, I suppose you substitute a dairy free spread here. And, as always, I did this in the microwave.

Into the trusty KitchenAid went:

150g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
50g ground almonds (almond meal)
50g rice flour*
1 tsp baking powder

Beat all of this with 2 eggs before adding the melted butter and chocolate.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish lined with baking paper. I used a dish that is approximately 18cm x 27cm and I ended up with nice thick dense brownies.

Bake for about half an hour. On non fan my oven is a little slow, so I needed 40 minutes. The top will be firm and cracked and a toothpick should come out cleanly (or mostly cleanly – with brownies you don’t want to overcook them!).

Allow to cool before cutting (and eating).

If you’re particularly greedy, serve with cream. That’s what we did!

* In Australia this is widely available – you’ll find it in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Just note that you want rice FLOUR and not GROUND rice – otherwise you’ll end up with gritty brownies!

Chocolate Brownies


I’m lucky that, at present, I have more time for cooking (and thinking about food) than I would do normally. This means that most of our evening meals have become more interesting and more diverse.

It also means … more time to think about cake.

I have my favourite chocolate brownie recipe (thank you, Nigel Slater) but I’m not so loyal to it that I won’t try something else. I spotted this recipe for chocolate caramel brownies on in the run up to Valentine’s Day and decided it looked worth a go.

The first block of caramello chocolate was eaten so we had to have a second attempt (I bought the chocolate and made the brownies within 24 hours to prevent the same thing happening again). As you might expect, I also deviated from the recipe.

Begin by putting a 220gm block of caramel chocolate in the freezer (this is to make it easier to break/chop up). Grease and line (fully, not just base line) with baking paper a tin – I always use my smallish roasting dish for brownies and preheat oven to 160°C (fan, 180°C otherwise).

Melt 180gm of dark chocolate (broken up) with 150gm of unsalted butter (chopped). I used to be too scared to melt chocolate in the microwave but I braved it once and have never looked back. It’s a LOT quicker than standing over a double boiler, and because it takes less time I find I’m less likely to get distracted, start doing something else and end up with the chocolate seizing. Yes, you do need to keep an eye on it (I open the microwave and give the chocolate a stir every 30 seconds – 1 minute or so) but you’d be doing that in a double boiler anyway. So, give microwaving your chocolate a go!

I then tipped the chocolate and butter mix in to the KitchenAid and, using the flat beater, mixed in ½ cup of caster sugar. When that was well combined I left the mixture to cool a little (actually, at that point I went and helped bath the baby … you don’t need to leave it that long though!) before beating in 2 eggs.

Now, at this point the recipe adds in 1 ¼ cups of plain flour. That just didn’t seem right to me – plain flour and no raising agents? So I used self raising flour. Beat this in, along with 2 tbsp of cocoa.

When everything is combined (and I found the mixture to be very thick – almost dough like in the way it clumped together and came away from the edges of the mixing bowl) mix in the caramel chocolate, broken in to squares. It was because of the caramel chocolate that I used the KitchenAid rather than the trusty MagiMix.

Tip the mixture in to the prepared tin, smooth out as much as possible and bake for 20 minutes. The top of the brownie should be set.

Allow to cool before serving. The original recipe has you cool the brownies, cut in to heart shapes and decorate with extra cocoa powder. Trust me – you need none of that frippery!

These were very simple to make and, while they didn’t eclipse my current favourite recipe, I’ll definitely be making them again. Of course – you can substitute any flavoured chocolate you like for the caramel chocolate. A few ideas floated around the afternoon tea table were using Cherry Ripes, mint chocolate, orange chocolate and I reckon even adding KitKats might be interesting!