It is chocolate week (10/10 – 16/10) and Live Mendips is celebrating by making one of our favourite chocolate brownie recipes.
So we’ve tried many chocolate brownie recipes over the years and prefer to veer towards squidginess and away from flouriness. We’ve tried recipes from friends, my grandmother’s recipe (v good, included pecans), Nigel Slater, Nigella, beetroot chocolate brownies and Deliciously Ella’s sweet potato cacao bakes. All have very good things going for them.
This recipe is in its own category. With all the darkness of chocolate, sweetness of maple syrup and the luxuriousness of butter it is deeply cocoa-y, gluten free and lower on refined sugar (and can be nut-free too if you need).
I like Nigel Slater’s idea – that brownies should be like Glastonbury Festival mud. Whatever you choose to add – marshmallows, nuts, nut butter, jam, or fruit – is up to you.
I tried my friend’s recipe (funnily enough at Glastonbury) and she made the most delicious brownies, made especially fudgey by refrigerating them overnight after they were made – if you can bear to leave them for that long.
For me, cooking with chocolate and wine is similar; I would not put the best wine in a coq au vin, but you might get a better result if you do. The quality of the chocolate you use is up to you (I am not a chocolate dictator) but I would still stick to 70% cocoa for that intense taste. For eating straight prefer my chocolate single estate and with the best beans, but for baking I have no such qualms. Whilst it is true that the better the ingredients the better the result but once you add eggs, cocoa, butter, maple syrup and flours then the distinctive cocoa notes of the finest beans are lost on most palates – and especially if you are making this for children. However, if you plan on using the finest chocolate for baking I will not get in your way.
Butter – 250g
Your choice of quality of chocolate broken in to chunks ( best to stick 70% cocoa solid) – 300g
Maple syrup – 100ml
Eggs – 3 large plus two extra yolks
Flour – I used ground almonds, but gluten-free/white spelt/plain white wheat flour all works- 100g
Cocoa – 60g
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Put the oven on to 180 and grease and base line a tin with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. You need a small roasting or baking tin, pref around 20cm/24cam (ish) square brownie tin.
Place a bowl about a barely-simmering saucepan of water and melt the butter, and 200g of chocolate together. When melted remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup.
While the chocolate is melting, whisk the eggs and egg yolks with an electric mixer or handheld whisk for a couple of minutes. There’s not much baking powder in this recipe so trying to get a little airiness through thorough beating. Once the mixture is a little paler and a few bubbles that is fine. Sift the flours and cocoa and baking powder in, folding gently. First fold in the slightly cooled chocolate/butter/syrup mix slowly, but once half of it is in, just mix it all together. Then add the remaining 100g chunks of chocolate (50g of nuts, or marshmallows or raisins or even prunes could be added now too.)
Pour into prepared tin (you could drizzle teaspoons of peanut butter and/or raspberry jam over the mix in the tin) and bake for at least 40 minutes. The centre should be wobbly and if you poke a knife it should come out with mixture on it. If you think the top is getting a little too brown after 40 minutes but it still still not done you can cover it with foil to stop the top over-cooking and cook it for 5 more minutes.
Let it cool, as it will be too squidgy to cut. If you can bear to cool it overnight in the fridge and cut it in the next day it’s worth the wait I promise!
Recipe by Sophia Beyer