Before I embarked on my baking expedition, I used to make brownies from a box- Betty Crocker, mostly. I attempted brownies from scratch once, quite long ago, and they came out rather cakey. And well…I don’t like a cakey brownie all that much. Ask Jo, I told her the same, and she makes a mean brownie. In fact, I have been planning a brownie post since I saw her perfect brownie recipe.
I decided it was time to find my own perfect brownie recipe. I think most bloggers and home cooks will agree that we all need a few BFF recipes- recipes you know will work no matter what. Recipes you always get right. Recipes that yield deliciousness and compliments. Recipes that make you look good, darn it. Just like a handbag or a clutch that goes with everything! Or a perfect pair of jeans that hug you just right! Or a classic pair of pearl earrings! Oh, I can come up with so many more Cosmopolitan-inspired yuppy female analogies, but we’re worth more than all that.
You get what I mean- we all need one (or more) recipe, which you can make at ease and which hits the spot. And this one, comes from…hold your breath…THE FOOD NETWORK!! And it’s from NIGELLA!!
So you see, sometimes you need not look further than the everyday. Or Nigella’s crazy-eyes.
These brownies are so quick and easy, you can actually put them together in less than an hour.
What appeals to me most about this? No beating. That means no lugging out the KitchenAid or stand mixer or handheld mixer, which for me is the slightly painful part of the baking process.
I really wanted to stack the brownies, but I didn’t cut them properly. I was so greedy and so excited I didn’t wait for them to cool completely.
With the result that stacked, they looked like this:
It looks like chocolate rubble. Like someone went to Candyland and took a jackhammer to the streets and left this on the kerb. It sounds so much nicer when I create a hypothetical situation in Candyland.
I realized my mistake. It was my knife skills, or lack thereof. Cutting brownies before they are completely cooled is a no-no. Unless you want Candyland chocolate rubble. I cut them too soon. I did not wait. I was over-eager. I was greedy. I needed to hold my horses.
Like Buddha taught, one must follow the path of moderation, between sensual indulgence and self-mortification.
Wait that doesn’t make sense here.
Alright then, let us remember the wise words of philosopher Edmund Burke: Our patience will achieve more than our force.
Hmmm…he seems a little out of place here too.
I know!! When in doubt, about anything from Buddhism to Brownie-Cutting, it makes sense to summon the wisdom of the Omnipresent Oprah!!
She. Knows. Everything. And she says, brownies must cool completely in the pan before you cut them.
I gained wisdom and better common sense on the craft of brownie cutting from her wonderful website. Brownies, and a bunch of other nifty tips and tricks!! Read it right HERE, and bookmark it if you are a dunce like me in some areas of cooking and plating.
I had to make another batch. If nothing else, just to take a better picture. And they appeared just so:
But take my word for it, these brownies are delicious! And they are so easy to prepare. Since you pour the batter into the foil, all you have to do is gently turn it over and peel off the foil once cooled.
FABULOUS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Recipe via Food Network.)
- 4 eggs
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 1 3/4 cups castor sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams milk chocolate cut into pieces, or 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- Chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Set aside a baking pan lined with tin foil (I used a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan.)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and keep aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan with high sides, melt the butter over gentle heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
- Next, add in all the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. You will get a soft crumbly chocolate mixture; and it may not be completely well blended at this stage, but you need to pull it off the heat.
- Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract into the saucepan, followed by the chopped chocolates and a handful of chopped walnuts if you wish.
- Pour and scrape the batter into the lined baking dish and bake at 180C for 30-40 mins. Check on your brownies once or twice, your brownies should look dry and set on top but still be a little soft and gooey within.
ALLOW YOUR BROWNIES TO COOL COMPLETELY, cut into pieces and watch them disappear!!
POOF! And they’re gone :D