At a time of seriously cold weather one looks to a sweet treat which can aid in comfort as well as warmth. I have devised a simple yet deliciously decadent treat which you can have not only at the end of your meal with a coffee, but also can be enjoyed any time of the day, when you are needing a little pick me up.
All you will need is;
– 200g plain chocolate, broken into cubes (depending on how rich you would like your brownies, decided on which chocolate you would like to use). If you would like your brownies chocolaty but not too strong, then Bournvillie will be great to use, however if you are like me and like my chocolate to be dark and rich, then I would either use a 70% cocoa chocolate or even an 80% cocoa chocolate. (I like to use Lindtt 80%). It is completely to your taste and the taste of whoever you are willing to share this with.
– 175g salted butter, softened. Plus a small amount on the size to grease your brownie tray. (Normally, when baking I like to use un-salted butter however chocolate, especially dark chocolate works really well with the salt in the butter, I guess you could say that the salt compliments the flavor of the chocolate).
– 200g Dark Brown Muscovado sugar
– 3 medium free range eggs which need to be separated, yolks in one bowl and whites in another.
– 1 Tsp Vanilla extract. (NOT ESSENCE).
– 140g Plain Flour.
– The Zest of 1 Orange.
Normally, these brownies are great to serve ‘as is’ however, if you would like to make the dish ‘Cakie’ then you can add a cream cheese butter cream.
For the Cream Cheese Butter Cream, you will need;
– 250g Soft cream cheese (I usually use Philadelphia full-fat, but if you’re looking for a lighter option then you can use Philadelphia Light).
– 500g Icing Sugar.
– 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract (or to keep with the theme, you can use either orange extract or the zest of 1 orange. (Put a bit aside of the decoration).
Set the oven temperature to 180 Degrees Celsius, gas mark 4. Line a brownie baking dish which should be approx 23cm by 23cm. Place the butter, sugar and chocolate into a bowl and place in the microwave blasting it for 10 seconds at the highest wattage. Only blast it for 10 seconds at a time and ensure that you stir it well between each blast. You can also place in a pan and warm gently under a medium to low heat. Once the butter, chocolate and sugar have melted, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool to one side. Once the mixture has cooled completely, add in the egg yolks only and beat well. Add the flour, vanilla and the orange zest, and mix well. In a separate, clean, dry bowl, add the egg whites and whisk until they reach soft peaks. Pour 1/3 of these stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture and stir well. Then place the rest of the stiff egg white peaks 1/3 at a time into the mixture and FOLD well with a metal spoon, ensuring that the air in the egg whites is not removed from the mixture. Pour the brownie batter into the lined brownie tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until the brownie is baked and can be touched causing it to bounce back to the touch, remember it is hot and soft so do not press too hard. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tin. Then remove from the tin to cool further.
This can be enjoyed plain, or with a cream cheese butter cream.
For the Butter cream;
Place the cream cheese in a bowl and whisk well until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Then, add the vanilla extract or orange extract as well as the orange zest. Stir well and then add the icing sugar a 1/3 at a time. Ensure that you stir the icing with a spoon at first as if you use a whisk; it can fly all over the place and will result in a kitchen covered in a white icing film. Take my word for it, the number of times my husband has come into the kitchen after seeing an explosion of white smoke coming from the kitchen. Once the buttercream is ready, spread over the cooled brownie and leave to set. Once the butter cream has set, cut up the large slab of brownies and serve with some orange zest sprinkled on top. I like to make a few slabs of brownie and sandwich it with butter cream.
I like to melt some more dark chocolate, leave off the butter cream and pour the chocolate over the top and add some walnuts – sometimes I even like to add walnuts to the batter just before it goes in the oven. Just devine!
However you like your brownies, enjoy!