Red Velvet Oreo Brownies

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Valentines Day, another excuse for presents, wine, wallowing in self-pity and, in the world of baking at least, red velvet.  This isn’t just any old red velvet though, these brownies take it to a whole new level. A layer of pillar-box red brownie topped with Oreo frosting and finished with a chocolate ganache. Whether you’re wallowing in self-pity or sharing with people you love these are most definitely worth the effort.

Red velvet brownies:

  • 115g butter
  • 200g sugar (I used half caster sugar, half brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring
  • ¾ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 95g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 175C

Melt the butter gently over a low heat

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve

Add the ingredients up to the white wine vinegar in the order listed, mixing to combine.Image

Beat the eggs and mix into the batter.

Finally fold in the flour, don’t overmix.

Pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake for 20 – 24 mins

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A couple of moist crumbs should stick to a toothpick inserted into the middle, but you don’t want the brownies wet.

Leave to cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before transferring to the fridge.

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Tips:

*1 tube of Dr Oeteker red gel will not be enough, use at least two. I wouldn’t recommend standard supermarket food colouring either. I used a tub of gel I got from the cake shop at my local market.

*The white wine vinegar won’t make your brownies taste weird, apparently it’s what brings out the vivid red colour.

*Take the butter out of the fridge for the frosting and ganache while you prepare the brownies, to allow it to come to room temperature.

I added a little bit extra cocoa powder because I was concerned the food colouring I used had given the batter a funny flavour, it didn’t but I taste tested enough to make absolutely certain. The evidence was all over my tongue and around my mouth. Red food colouring does not make for sneaky scoffing.

 Oreo Frosting:

  • 60 – 80g butter
  • 210g icing sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp (30 – 45 ml) double cream
  • 9 crushed oreos

(6 just didn’t seem enough to me)

 Beat the butter until creamy

Add the sugar, I did it a bit at a time to avoid a powder explosion all over the adding the two tbsp. of cream to smooth out the icing.

If necessary add the final tbsp. of cream but be aware you want the frosting quite thick, thicker than what you’d use on a cupcake or to frost a cake.

Fold in the crushed oreos.

Spread the frosting over the cold brownie and place back in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

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Ganache:

  • 120g dark chocolate
  • 120ml double cream
  • 30g butter

Chop up the chocolate and place in a bowl

Bring the cream to the boil and then pour over the chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Cut the butter into the mixture a bit at a time, mixing until smooth.

Let it cool for 5 minutes before spreading over the oreo frosting.Image

To finish decorate with a couple more crushed oreos.Image

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Wallow, scoff, share, you can thank me later for finding you true love.

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White Chocolate, Cherry & Cranberry Blondies

If you’ve got no plans this Saturday then make these blondies your plans. They’re soft, chewy and fruity, dotted with heavenly little bits of white chocolate. They are perhaps the chewiest blondies I’ve ever made and the dried fruit only adds to that. The tartness of the cherries and cranberries is also a nice contrast to the sweetness of the white chocolate.

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  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g white chocolate
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g all purpose flour
  • 100g white chocolate chunks or chips
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g tart dried cherries

The trick to the chewy is the extra egg yolk and melting the butter. I let my butter get a little bit brown which added a nice nutty buttery flavour.

Preheat the oven to 180C

Grease and line a 20cm pan

Melt the butter on a low heat and let it simmer gently on the hob for about 5 minutes, don’t burn it.

In the mean time melt the 100g white chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water.

When the butter has darkened slightly add the sugar and stir until combined.

Weigh the dry ingredients out into a separate bowl.

Add the vanilla, egg and egg yolk to the butter mixture and whisk to combine, then add the melted white chocolate and whisk again.

Fold the dry ingredients into the whisked mix until they’re well combined

Finally add your cranberries, cherries and white chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick so mix well to make sure it’s all thoroughly combined and your fruit and chocolate are distributed throughout.

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Bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the top is shiny. Don’t worry if it wobbles in the middle and looks uncooked.

Allow to cool in the tin for an hour at least before cooling further on a wire rack.Image

Don’t try and cut them straight away because they’ll seem still raw. Wait a few hours, or overnight, for them to really firm up.

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These blondes are adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction which I use for inspiration all the time, such great ideas for cookies, bars and blondes, worth a visit. Next time I would probably use less sugar because the melted white chocolate really sweetens the batter.

Have a great weekend!

Better Than Before Brownies

Also known as ‘best ever chocolate brownies’ these are quite literally, the best brownies ever. I’ve made them once before and had rave reviews. Having tried the vegan recipe I was  keen to see Imagehow the two compared. The verdict’s in the title. I’d be lying if I said the vegan ones were best. These have a softer texture and are less dense than their vegan cousin. They’re gooey and fudgy to die for, without sticking to the roof of your mouth a bit. I (and you) have fellow baking blogger Alice Melly to thank for this one, check out her blog www.averymellybake.tumblr.com for more!

For the brownies: 

  • 185g Unsalted Butter
  • 150g Dark Chocolate
  • 100g Milk chocolate
  • 85g Plain Flour
  • 40g Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • 275g Caster Sugar

Alice’s recipe includes chunks of both 50g of milk and white chocolate chunks, and slightly more dark chocolate but I adapted it to use up what I had left in my baking cupboard.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
  3. While the chocolate and butter cool, weigh out the flour, cocoa and baking powder and sift them together.
  4. Whisk your eggs together with the sugar until they’ve about doubled in volume and have a consistency like a milkshake – a nice thick one
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  6. Fold the cooled chocolate mix gently into your ‘milkshake’ eggs and sugar until evenly incorporated and there are no streaks.
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  8. Finally, sift the dry ingredients into the wet mix and fold gently until you have a thick chocolatey mixture.Image
  9. Pour the brownie batter into your prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is shiny and starting to pull away from the edges of the tin. A skewer should definitely NOT come out clean. Straight out of the oven these will slip through your fingers like a mini mudslide, I let them cool and firm up before cutting them.Image

I didn’t take any pictures of the cut up brownies as I was rushing around buying Christmas presents but they’re not that photogenic really. It’s all about the way they melt in your mouth rather than how your mouth melts when you look at them.

Vegan Brownies

These brownies were good. Really good. Don’t be fooled by the vegan, these aren’t even remotely healthy but they are tasty. They’ve got all the gooey goodness of packet mix brownies with none of the guilt!  I made them because one of my housemates has got a load of work on with his masters and I figured brownies are always a good pick me up.  He’s never able to eat most of what I bake because of all the eggs and butter which is why these are vegan.

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Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your baking tin – to keep it vegan don’t use butter!

What you need: 

  • 200ml oil
  • 200 ml water
  • 100 ml rice milk (or almond, or soya whatever you like)
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 85g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence

It’s as easy as 1, 2 here:

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Add the liquids and mix into yummy brownie batter – yes when I was done I did lick the bowl, and the spoon… and the whisk.

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Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is no longer shiny.

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Because of my dodgy oven I took them out a bit early because I didn’t want them to dry out and be cakey. The middle was a little bit underdone but I stuck them in the fridge to firm them up. No one ever complains about a gooey fudgy brownie anyway.

Bargain Banana Blondies

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I never come away from a market empty handed and when I heard bags of bananas going for 50p, well I was sold and so were the bananas, ha.  I call them Bargain Banana Blondies because for 50p I honestly got about 3 kilos of bananas. I didn’t worry about using them all up at all. I love forgetting about bananas, coming back to the bag and finding their mottled black and yellow skins absolutely perfect for banana cake. Any excuse to bake! This time I decided to try something new. We know everyone loves a brownie, they’ll never be beaten but blondies are still a bit of a novelty.  It doesn’t matter if your bananas weren’t a bargain these will still be sweet.

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 250g chopped bananas (overripe, really overripe!)
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped

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Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan

Melt the white chocolate and the butter gently over a low heat

Add the sugar, egg, vanilla and bananas then beat until the mix is smooth

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add your chopped chocolate then fold through the wet mix

*I didn’t chop up my chocolate too fine because then you just get yukky melty smears, mine were good sizeable chunks that held their shape while they baked.

Pour the mix into a prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes. The top should be glossy and wobbly when you take them out.

Let them cool completely before you even attempt to cut them, they will be gooey!

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Depending on your taste you could switch the dark chocolate for milk, or white, some macadamia nuts would go well with white chocolate.  Next time I think I’ll try them with the banana caramel I used here.  Personally I think the dark chocolate is nice because it balances the sugary sweetness of the white chocolate and bananas… although I’d easily eat banana blondies full of caramel or white chocolate chips.

These were a big hit and my baking guinea pig enjoyed them so much she was inspired to make her own to take a to a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner. She reported back that there were good reviews all round.