Most people, including myself, simply cannot help themselves when confronted by the prospect of this all-American delight and the human soul crumbles into defeat and a million eyes widen at the sight of a freshly baked batch of brownies. I’ve been cooking a few for our Fosh Food delivery service this week and the kitchen is filled with this heavenly aroma.
It’s often said that there is no such thing as a “bad” brownie, but the real beauty of the perfect brownie lies in the fact that it has to be both deliciously rich and surprisingly light.
The best ones are truly memorable and the difference between an amazing brownie and a mediocre one largely boils down to the quality of the ingredients. While chocolate, butter, sugar, flour and eggs, mixed together and baked in a pan might sound simple enough, there is a definite chemistry behind a great brownie recipe
My first rule is to use the very best dark chocolate that you can find and the higher the cocoa percentage, the more intense the flavour. Look for a chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa ratio. Secondly, good-quality, dark cocoa powder is also essential. “Natural” cocoa powder is typically sold unsweetened, and while it may taste bitter on its own, its natural acidity works with baking powder to help lighten baked pastries such as brownies while adding a balanced chocolate flavour. Avoid milky looking cocoa powder as its often treated with alkali which neutralizes the natural acidity in the powder, giving the cocoa a more mellow and smooth, less bitter flavour but you’ll lose intensity.
Lastly, brownies are sensitive creatures and a few minutes too long in the oven and you’ll wave bye-bye to their delightful, soft, gooey centres. My advice is not to follow the baking time in any brownie recipe exactly, and check them at least 5 minutes before the timer buzzes. If you do over bake them, don’t worry. Cover them with chocolate truffle mix or ganache before cutting, or crumble them into vanilla ice cream or if really dry, use as the base for a cheesecake.
Espresso brownies with dark cherries and walnuts
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Makes 10 squares
· 200g unsalted butter
· 200g dark chocolate
· 250g light brown sugar
· 50g peeled walnuts, chopped
· 80g cocoa powder, sifted
· 65g plain flour, sifted
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 4 large free-range eggs
· Zest of 1 orange
· 150g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
· 10 coffee beans
Preheat the oven to 190°C
Prepare an 18cm square, deep tin by lining with non-stick baking paper. Grind the coffee beans to a fine powder. Melt the chocolate & butter together in a bowl. Mix the eggs and sugar in a food processor. Slowly add the orange zest, baking powder, flour, coffee and cocoa powder. Gently fold in the walnuts and the cherries.Transfer mixture to the prepared tin, and bake for 25 minutes. When cooked, leave to cool in the tin, before cutting into 10 bite-sized squares and serving with a big scoop of ice cream.
FOSH FOOD @HOME
Due to the current and evolving circumstances of COVID-19, our restaurants will now remain closed until the New Year. We’ve made this decision with a heavy heart as our guests mean the world to us and we genuinely love what we do everyday, but we feel it’s the best option for all concerned right now. We cannot wait to have you all back in the dining room in 2021, but in the meantime we are also offering an exciting online food delivery service for the Island of Majorca over the next few months and beyond.
Our aim is that you can say goodbye to take away with FOSH FOOD@HOME and order delicious, freshly cooked dishes to keep in your fridge or freezer for a simple lunch or dinner bursting with Mediterranean flavours. Cooked in our kitchen, just as you would in your own home, all our food will be freshly prepared to order and delivered to your door and ready to heat and eat. We make everything to order and we will never compromise on taste and quality. We only cook what you order from fresh ingredients each and every time without any extra preservatives or additives. So check out what’s on the menu at www.foshfoodathome.com.
Bulletin readers get a free copy of his book Modern Mediterranean: Sun-drenched recipes from Mallorca and beyond with their first order.