MAKES APPROX. 16
- flour, for dusting the tin
- 100g plain dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken up into chunks
- 150g plant-based butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the tin
- 200g sugar, preferably unrefined caster sugar
- 2 large, free-range eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 70g self-raising flour
I couldn’t really write a cookbook without including brownies. My schoolfriends used to love it when Mum made a fresh batch of brownies; these were very American and not that well known in the 70s and 80s in south-east England, although now of course they are famous worldwide. There are so, so many extras that you can add to brownies: chopped pecans or walnuts, broken-up pieces of white chocolate, dried cherries, and so on. But I have opted for a very simple recipe, partly because my kids pick out the nuts, and partly because I love them just like this – with cream or vanilla ice cream on the side for dessert.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and lightly flour a non-stick baking tin, about 23 x 23cm. To melt the chocolate, place the broken-up chocolate pieces in a medium to large heatproof mixing bowl. Sit it on a pan of gently simmering boiling water (the water only needs to be about 5cm deep). The moment the chocolate has melted take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl beat the butter until it becomes lighter in colour, then add the sugar and beat well until it becomes light and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the beaten eggs and mix well. And now mix in the vanilla and the melted chocolate (making sure the chocolate is not too hot, as it may cook the eggs). Mix in the flour and combine well.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 12–15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool slightly, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack or plate. The brownies should be moist and a bit gooey. Cut into squares or rectangles, and serve.