Could this be the ultimate brownie? Only one way to find out!
I tried several brownie recipes and mixed and baked until I had my own favorite version. Using good quality dark chocolate and adding extra cocoa powder (I use Belgium chocolate by Callebout 67% Madagascar chocolate with hints of coffee and blueberries, perfect for the chocolate snob, and cacao powder from the French brand Valrhona) gives the brownies a very intense chocolate flavor. You can add vanilla to the mixture but I found it can do very well without. Adding vanilla adds to the overall sweetness, but takes away from the chocolate taste. So I only put a little bit in the glazing.
As for adding nuts I find that in this recipe I like walnuts better than peacans. I tried adding them raw and also lightly toasted. There isn’t a big difference, as long as they are fresh, because there is nothing worse then taking a chocolaty bite from a brownie and then tasting stale walnut. I also saw recipes that use less ingredients for the same size tin. My aim was to make the brownies a bit higher to have more of the fudgy texture. My test tasters commented they liked the higher version the best.
Ingredients for the Brownies
135 g best dark chocolate (+/- 70% cocoa solids) in pieces
135 g plain flour (all purpose)
300 g sugar
3 organic eggs
135 g butter in cubes
80 g chopped walnuts (toasted for 5 minutes)
1.5 tbsps cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
good pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Ingredients for the Glazing
100 g best dark chocolate (+/- 70% cocoa solids)
25 g butter
1 small tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Making the Brownies
For this recipe you need a 20 cm x 20 cm / 8 inches x 8 inches square baking tin lined with parchment paper. Start by weighing the ingredient. Melt the chocolate pieces and cubes of butter in a bowl over a pan of just simmering water (au bain Marie) and leave to cool.
Preheat your oven to 180ºC / 355ºF. I preheat it a little bit higher first and then turn it to the right temperature as soon as the tin goes in the oven, because you always lose heat immediately when you open the oven door.
With an electric mixer (I use a hand mixer for this) whisk the eggs at maximum speed until light and foamy. Now, mixer at medium speed, gradually add the sugar to the eggs and mix to a thick milkshake consistency and a pale yellow color. Now mixer on low speed, also gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, until you have an even mixture. Use a sieve to add the flour, cocoa powder and salt to the chocolate mixture. Cover the top of the chocolate mixture evenly with the flour and very gently combine the two with a spatula. Keep folding until you have an almost even mixture that looks fudgy. At this stage, when it’s almost combined I add the chopped walnuts, so they are evenly distributed through the mixture. Make sure to stop as soon as everything is combined to avoid over-mixing.
Time for the oven! Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, use a spatula to clean out your bowl. Make sure the mixture is evenly distributed, ease it into the corners with your spatula. Put the tin in the middle of the oven and bake the brownie mixture for around 35 minutes. Check if the top has a papery crust and a pale brown color. Check if the middle part is also set by lightly pressing the top with your fingertips. (you can stick in a skewer, if you can see some brownie mixture stuck to it, that’s fine, as long as it doesn’t have a liquid consistency. Give it a few more minutes in the oven if it’s not set in the middle and check again. Take the tin out of the oven and leave the brownies in the tin to cool completely. If you cut them while they are still warm, the consistency will be a bit like hot chocolate mousse, also very nice, but the substance will stabilize when cooled down completely.
Making the glaze
Meld the chocolate very gently ‘au bain Marie’. Take off the heat and add the butter and golden syrup. Stir until you have a smooth glazing and leave to cool a bit, making sure it still has a workable/spreadable consistency.
Spread the mixture over the brownies and cover the top. Leave to cool completely. Cut into 4 squares and cut each square into 4 squares again. Keep them in an airtight container (up to a week) or in the freezer (up to a month).