Back with Brownies

Hello and apologies for the dry spell! I’ve spent the past few weeks teaching teenagers, an experience to say the least and one that didn’t give me much time for baking. In true Blue Peter style I had prepared a couple of ‘here’s one I made earlier’ posts, however I couldn’t access this blog AT ALL on the school Wi-Fi so my efforts were futile. Some tech-savvy child probably could have helped me but I never actually thought to ask. I’m sure you’ve not been going hungry and life has hardly been devoid of treats but wait ‘til you see what I’ve got in store. They’re decadent, delicious, delightful. Rich chewy brownies combined with a fruity raspberry cream cheese and dotted with gorgeous little bursts of fresh raspberry. Naughty and nice in every bite.

2014-03-28 12.06.00

I present to you, Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies and here’s the how:

2014-03-28 12.05.48

Brownies:

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 225g dark chocolate
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 95g all-purpose flour

Raspberry Cheesecake swirl:

  • 225g cream cheese
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80g raspberry jam
  • 100g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C and line your baking tray ready to go.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over barely simmer water, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature (15-20 mins)

2014-03-27 13.51.19

Once cool, stir in the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.

Whisk in the vanilla and then gently fold in the flour.

2014-03-27 13.56.23

Set that aside while you crack on with the cheesecake layer, it’ll take you all of two minutes.

Beat all the ingredients EXCEPT the whole raspberries with a handheld mixture until nice and smooth. I added a couple of extra drops of red food colouring to give a more intense colour but that isn’t necessary – the aesthetics are all up to you.

2014-03-27 13.41.232014-03-27 13.43.47

Now, pour ¾ of the brownie mixture into the pan, leaving the last ¼ in the bowl. Drop dollops of cheesecake mixture alternatively on top of the brownie, spoon the remaining brownie batter on top and then swirl with a knife. Try not to over-swirl or you just end up with a mess

2014-03-27 14.06.05 2014-03-27 14.08.06

Finally press some fresh raspberries into the top of the mixture and stick it in the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out not quite clean. You want them fudgy but not too undercooked

2014-03-28 12.07.222014-03-28 12.04.49

As with any brownies, and particularly ones with swirls or extra jazzy bits, leave them to cool COMPLETELY before even attempting to lift them out of the tin and refrigerate before slicing. I know, I know, the temptation… it’s a test of willpower worth the wait.

2014-03-28 12.05.13

Advertisements

Sweet Potato Brownies.

I apologise for the lack of treats being posted the last couple of weeks. Life has been getting in the way of baking.

Between being busy doing general life things I’ve also got a confession to make. Now, I know a baking blog is hardly the place to preach about eating too much sugar, but I do. Obviously I enjoy indulgence but I also enjoy eating healthily and try to strike a balance between the two. It’s not so much that I can’t control myself around a tray of brownies and more that I enjoy taste testing far too much. I’d probably rather eat a bowl of cake batter than the actual cake. So, to get back to the point I’ve been doing less baking and more cooking. Cooking is also far more forgiving of impromptu add-ins than baking and I find it dents my ego less as I’m generally successful. It was on one of my trips around the Internet in search of lunch-spirtation that I stumbled upon Deliciously Ella. I cannot fault her hummus, sweet potato dip, warm salads, anything I’ve tried for that matter. More importantly, the girl does dessert. Winner. Which leads me to the whole point of this blog post…

The sweet potato brownie

Image

I’ve never, ever, attempted a ‘healthy’ brownie before. I’ve always thought I’d much rather have the real deal but brownies everyday just doesn’t make me feel great. These sweet little squares mean you can quite literally have your cake and eat it too. They’re soft, fudgy, sweet and chocolatey – totally different to anything I’ve ever tried before. I couldn’t lie to you and tell you these are the perfect replacement for brownies, they don’t taste like the real deal but they are guilt free and pretty delicious!

Image

I’ve altered the recipe here and there because no one in my family has any kind of food intolerance. We tolerate all foods in equal measure. We love food.

  •  16 dates (I used kurma which are smaller than medjool)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (600g approx.)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup wholewheat flour (65g)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Peel and then boil or steam your sweet potatoes until they’re really really soft Image

De-stone the dates and blend them with the cooked sweet potato in a food processor – you’ll end up with the most gorgeous orange paste which I may have enjoyed more than the brownies themselves. ImageImage

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together

ImageImage

Image

Spoon into a brownie tray lined with baking paper

Bake at 180C for 25 – 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean

Image

Leave to cool before slicing.

I let mine come to room temperature before transferring to the fridge and then slicing just like I do with other brownies.

 

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
  5.  ImageImage
  6. Fold the cooled chocolate mix gently into your ‘milkshake’ eggs and sugar until evenly incorporated and there are no streaks.
  7.  Image
  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.

Image

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.

Image

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

Image

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.