Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Decadent, dark chocolate brownies (and too many grilled cheese sandwiches)

When I was a child, I had to finish all the spinach on my plate, was only allowed to eat cereals with sugar on Wednesdays and Sundays, and was never granted that bag of chips, not even the really small one, even if I begged, pleaded (and occasionally threw an embarrassing fit). And all those times, the only thing that consoled me was the thought that when I am older I am going to eat exactly what I want, whenever I want and nobody will be able to stop me.

And I do. But it just so happens that my older self loves spinach, prefers to make her own sugar-free cereals and hasn't wanted to buy a bag of chips in months. My eating habits turn out to be very grown-up-ish. Well, most of the time. Surely, if my parents (or anyone, for that matter) had seen me the last two days, they'd have been shaking their heads in disapproval. What can I say - every now and then the little child in me escapes and for the past two days I've been living off cheese and sausage-laden sandwiches, brownies and one too many Pimms.

It started off innocently enough. I was craving brownies. I had been craving brownies ever since I stumbled across (as in, deliberately googled) this recipe. What had me hooked was not the name (best-ever brownies) or the rating (five full stars after 294 votes) but the ingredients themselves. The brownies involved nearly 300g of chocolate, 200g of butter and another 300g of sugar. How could these brownies be anything short of pure bliss?

As it turns out, they couldn't. They'll indeed make you very, very happy. They are the richest and most decadent brownies I have ever eaten. They are also vicious: Because they are so sweet, they'll have you craving something savory (as in a grilled cheese sandwich), but then they'll somehow lure you into ending that meal on a sweet note again (as in, another brownie), which then... I think you get the point. It'd be wise to make these brownies, keep one, and give all the rest away, immediately. 

But my childish self isn't wise. And so I have spent the last 48 hours eating brownies and grilled cheese. Though once I mixed it up and followed one and a half brownies with a two sausage sandwich. Which I can highly recommend, but then you might fall into a food coma have to spend the rest of your day on your feet trying to walk it off and wishing your parents had been there to stop you.

The most decadent chocolate brownies
adapted from Orlando Murrin's Best-ever brownies on BBC Good Food


185g // 13 tablespoons of unsalted butter, in cubes
185g // 6.5 oz of best dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Lindt's Excellence 70% Cocoa)
85g // 2/3 cup of plain flour
40g // 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
50g // 1.76 oz of white chocolate, chopped into rough squares
50g // 1.76 oz of milk chocolate, chopped into rough squares
3 large eggs
275g // 1 1/4 scant cups of golden caster sugar


Put butter and dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water, without the bowl touching the water. Melt chocolate and butter slowly, stirring every so often until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to fan 160°C // 320°F / conventional 180°C // 356°F. Sift flour and cocoa into a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix eggs and sugar on high speed until they are thick and creamy, like a milkshake. This can take  a few minutes. You'll know it's ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume.

Pour cooled chocolate into the eggy mixture and gently fold the chocolate in. Be careful, you want to combine the two while knocking out as little air as possible. Resift the flour/cocoa mixture over the eggy/chocolate mixture and fold it in using the same carefulness as before. Stop before you feel you should, as you don't want to overmix. Finally, stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks.

Pour the mixture into a 20cm // 8 inch square tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes shake the tin gently. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it's not quite done, so slide the tin back in and bake for another few minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin.* Take it out from the oven and let it cool off a bit before removing the brownies from the tin and slicing them into squares.

Enjoy warm, at room temperature, or cold.

*I have a tendency to under-bake my brownies, because I want them to be extra moist inside. I took them out after 25 minutes, even though they were still rather wet inside. I let them cool off a bit and then placed them in the refrigerator to harden for a few hours. Then I removed them, cut them into squares and let them come back to room temperature. The brownies were so moist and fudgy.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Not that this really needs a recipe but


A knob of butter.
Two slices of bread of your choice (I used Pain Ancien from Paul)
40g // 1.5 oz of cheese, coarsely shredded (I've tried it with sharp cheddar, Gruyere and Pecorino Sardo each delicious in its own right)

Optional: sauteed onions, mustard or whatever else you might be craving.


Melt the knob of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle cheese over one bread slice and top with the second slice, pressing down slightly.

Place sandwich in skillet. Cook one side until its crisp and golden, then flip, and cook the other side (about 5 minutes per side). Flip sandwich back to the first side to reheat and crisp, about 15 seconds.

Remove from skillet, cut in half and enjoy immediately!


Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio) said...

My eating habits are getting WORSE with age! How are you doing it? I can't imagine being around grilled cheese and these brownies!!! Wowzers...300lbs here I come!

littlemissdids said...

Haha! Well to be honest after this weekend I was really craving something healthy - yesterday I prepared a nice bowl of pearl couscous with grilled vegetables in a lemon vinaigrette for dinner. I guess it's all about balance - otherwise I would definitely balloon! ;)

Barbara said...

hey jen! made these yesterday and they were nothing short of amazing. thanks for posting this recipe. what a treat. had guests over and i got such good feedback, i almost felt ashamed cos i simply copied your tips :) anyways, thank you again. wonderful blog!

littlemissdids said...

Hi Barbara! Thank you!! I'm very happy to hear they were a success! :-)

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