As a keen baker and proud owner of a pistachio Kitchen Aid, I would love to say I am constantly experimenting with my baking skills in search of something so wonderful I could open my own bakery (maybe I could create the next Cronut?). However as with most things, life, work, time and energy get in the way most of the time so I find myself trying to whip up something as quickly as possible when the need for some home-baked fabulousness arises.
I find myself going back to the same staple recipe which is completely fail safe and always an absolute winner; the humble Brownie! What makes these brownies not only super simple but also very easy to diversify, is being able to mix up each recipe to make every one seem different than the last, when infact only a few small tweaks in the finishing touches have been made.
Having tried out a few recipes, the recipe I absolutely swear by which always gives a gooey finish is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book with a few personal additions:
- 200 g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
- 100 g milk and/or white chocolate (roughly chopped, buttons or chips)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 175 g unsalted or salted butter
- 325 g caster sugar
- 130 g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- icing sugar, to decorate
- To make it fancy – Caramel buttons, Truffles, Marshmallows, Twix, Snickers, Nutella, honeycomb or any of your favourite sweet treats!
The only additions from the original recipe are the vanilla extract, well because vanilla makes everything better, I usually use salted butter or add a bit of sea salt as I feel its needed to help balance the richness and bring out the cocoa and I add more chocolate chips or chunks in at the end to add to the gooeyness and texture because is there ever too much chocolate in a brownie?
A fancy flourish?
With the fancy additions, I have had a few catastrophes when experimenting with caramel before so I would suggest if you decide to add a caramel button, not to add these into the actual mixture but add them on top of the brownie once out of the oven or on top part way through baking so they don’t all sink to the bottom and make a sticky mess on the pan – no one wants to spend the evening scraping burnt caramel from the tin!
Lindor balls or any other truffle make an indulgent addition to a brownie to make them seem extra special. I like to cut them in half and pop them on the very top of the mixture, when they melt on top they make a round pool of truffley lovliness that make the brownies extra tempting and a little unique as this isn’t something I’ve seen before.
Not for Diabetic Brownies.
These bad boys won me “best baker” at work this year and I was chuffed! Having decided to keep my entry simple with the brownies and just adding a few fancy bits to make them look like more of a showstopper and it paid off with little extra effort – win win literally! Essentially these brownies had everything I could possibly fit on top and more including white chocolate chips in the batter, topped with Nutella, honeycomb and caramel buttons all drizzled with white chocolate. Hence the name was born: Not For Diabetic Brownies!
Triple Layer Cakes.
When I have a bit more time on my hands and want to make a good sized cake with wow-impact, one of my favourite things to do is add a brownie layer in the middle of a normal sponge cake. I’ve mixed up between vanilla sponge, marble or chocolate and tend to do a marshmallow or vanilla frosting so it’s not bombarded with chocolate. Using the same recipe above, simply add half the batter into the same sized tin used to make the sponge cakes then the rest of the batter can be baked separately in smaller moulds for decoration.
If I could only bake one recipe for the rest of my life and be known for one bake it would always be the humble brownie with a fancy twist!