The Best Brownies…..

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Over the years I think hundreds of brownies have been made in our kitchen and I believe that this recipe is about as good as it gets. For brownie perfection there should be no cutting of corners and there are four distinct stages to the recipe that need to be followed in order to achieve the best result. One of the glories of this recipe is that it may easily be adapted to create a gluten free version. Dove’s Farm produce a great gluten free self raising flour that I sometimes use and it works very well with this recipe. Take a little time to read packaging labels as there are many gluten free versions of everyday baking ingredients available now. Why not indulge yourself?

I’ll start with a list of the ingredients you’ll need for the basic brownie recipe and then we’ll progress to the creative bit! There are several variations that may be made too, so I’ll give a few suggestions for those at the end of the recipe.

185g butter (don’t even think of using margarine for this one!)

200g milk chocolate

75g dark chocolate

85g self raising flour

40g cocoa powder

3 large free range eggs

275g caster sugar

Firstly, grease and line with baking parchment a 20cm square tin (the one I use is about 4 – 5cm deep). You’ll need three separate mixing bowls, including one that may be used in the microwave, and an electric hand mixer. Preheat the oven to 180°C

Stage 1:

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  • put the chocolate and butter into a bowl and, using full power, microwave them for several bursts of  30 seconds at a time until they are melted. This could take up to 3 minutes, but be careful not to overheat the mixture
  • put this mixture to one side to cool a little whilst completing stages 2 and 3:

Stage 2:

  • put the eggs and sugar into a roomy bowl and whisk them together until they are thick,  pale and creamy (the whisk should leave a trail mark in the mixture when you lift it out)

Stage 3:

  • sift the flour and cocoa together. The absence of lumps will make them much easier to fold into the other ingredients

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Stage 4:

  • with the electric whisk on it’s slowest setting, gently blend the chocolate and butter mixture into the whisked eggs and sugar

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  • lastly, using a metal spoon, fold the flour and cocoa carefully into the other ingredients.

This is the point in the recipe to add any extra ingredients if you so desire. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. 100g white chocolate, cut into chunks (my particular favourite!)
  2. 100g white chocolate, cut into chunks, plus 50g chopped walnuts
  3. 75g white chocolate and 50g very dark chocolate, both cut into chunks
  4. the zest of 2 oranges plus 2 teaspoons of pure orange extract

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When everything is mixed to your satisfaction and any extras added, pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, level the surface and bake it for 40 minutes. When it is removed from the oven the cooked brownie should have a slight wobble if you gently shake the tin (as the brownie cools it will set a little more). Leave it to cool in the tin and then cut it into the desired number of pieces.

The last part of the process is to settle yourself in a comfy chair in a quiet corner and sample the first piece of your “chocolate heaven”. Dare I say that it will be the best brownie you’ve ever tasted?

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