Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Brownies or diet? Which one should win?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you thing everything is going wrong?

Well that's me this week. 2 cooking shows cancelled and my sister was ill this morning so I went swimming on my own. Usually I take this kind of thing badly, thinking its something personl and reach for the biscuit tin or my baking cupboard. Instead I took it in my stride for once and got on with things. That's novel for me, let's hope it lasts.

If I had reached for the baking cupboard I would have been seriously tempted to make chocolate brownies or maybe even a pineapple upsidedown cake. In fact I really feel like reaching for the cupboard right now but I shouldn't, it's my weight watchers meeting in the morning and a severe slip like that could undo the good work I put in today at the pool. 40 laps and an hour of aquafit should hopefully help. Fingers crossed!

For those of you who can afford to eat the goodies here is the best brownie recipe I've found so far, and believe me I have tried loads of recipes trying to find the perfect brownie.

Best Chocolate far

4 oz or 100g plain chocolate
5 oz or 125g butter
10 oz or 275g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 oz or 50g self raising flour
1 oz or 25g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder4 oz or 100g chocolate pieces

Before you start making the mixture you will need to grease and line a square or rectangular tin with sides which are at least 2 inches high. I use a rectangular tin which is about half the size of my roasting tin which works really well, in fact in the shop it was called a brownie pan, go figure.

If you are lazy like myself and you have a non stick tin then I just chance my arm by spraying the tin with a light mist of oil. The brownies have enough moisture in them so that they don't stick to the tin too much.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, don't let the bowl touch the water, for the lazy like myself try using a microwave, it works just as well then leave it to cool.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Once this reaches a light and fluffy texture add the eggs a little at a time. This is to prevent the mixture curdling, however you will usually find that it still ends up a little lumpy but don't worry, the flour will sort this out.

In fact the next step is to sift and then fold in the plain and self raising flour and the cocoa powder. Try doing this in 2 to 3 batches as you will find it easier to incorporate everything together.

Next the melted chocolate can be stirred into the mixture, be gentle so that you don't undo all the hard work you have already put in to adding air to the brownies so they rise.

Finally add the chocolate pieces and mix again. You may want to reserve some of the pieces and sprinkle them on the top before you put the brownies in the oven, or if it is one of those weeks where you are saying 'to hell with the diet' then I say add extra peices to the top.


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