Is there anything better for a baking fiend than getting a 2.5 kg bag of chocolate for Christmas? I think there is – when the bag in question is Lindt couverture and is accompanied by a chocolate recipe book (or two). Continue reading
These are called ‘Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies’ and are described by David Lebovitz in his excellent book ‘Ready for Dessert’ as the best brownies. He’s right. And David Lebovitz himself admits a reluctance to stand on a soap box to say anything is the best. As with most of his recipes, it’s hard to get these wrong and that’s why I enjoy his recipes so much. These brownies are so decadent and chocolaty rich, studded with chunks of toasted walnuts. Best of all, they are a one-pot preparation and you really can whip up a batch in under an hour. I’ve added dates here to make them extra moist – though they really don’t need it.
I find freezing these work really well to stop me eating the entire tray in one sitting. Served warmed up with cream or vanilla ice cream is the best of the best.
Modified from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Brownies by David Lebovitz with bonus dates
- 85 g unsalted butter
- 225 g dark chocolate (at least 45% cocoa solids)
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 35 g plain flour
- 100 g dates, pitted and softened in 100 ml just-boiled water with ½ teaspoon bicarb, then roughly chopped
- 135 g walnuts (any nut will work, but I think walnuts or pecans are best), lightly toasted and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 175°C (155°C fan forced) and lightly grease and line a 23 cm square baking tin with baking paper or foil (ensuring some comes up the side to help with removing the brownies after they have cooked).
- In a large pot, gently melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir through the sugar and vanilla, then beat through the eggs, one at time until fully combined.
- Add the flour and beat until the batter is smooth and glossy (it will come away from the side of the pot).
- Stir through the chopped nuts and dates.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 30 minutes until just set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the tray and cutting up.
- Try stopping at one.
It’s taken me a long time to post this recipe, as I wanted it to be a sort of pre-Christmas reflection post on all the excess and wastage and how nice it is in the craziness of the pre-Christmas blergh to reflect on all that is good and simple (with this nice comforting cake!).
But no matter how many times I drafted this blog, I ended up sounding like a preachy old grinch and hit delete, delete, delete! I think it is probably because I have not bought a thing for anyone yet and the impending doom that is pre-Christmas shopping, combined with the irritating smug satisfaction from people who tell me they finished their shopping in October and ordered their food a month ago makes me go all #stabby. So enough already! Continue reading
Have you ever had that sinking feeling moment when you realise you’ve left out an ingredient from a recipe? It’s usually after the cake etc has been in the oven for a few minutes and you start to clean up the counter and spy that ingredient you took out/bought for the recipe and don’t remember using. Yeah, that feeling. Then you go through the thought process…. faaarrkkk – can I fix this? Will it make a huge difference if I leave it? Will anyone notice? Continue reading
I’m always in absolute awe of Heston Blumenthal’s recipes and approach to cooking – he is a genius in modern cooking and makes everything so thought-worthy. Added to that, I love his reductionist methods that get into the basics behind the recipes he creates. As an ex-lab-rat scientist, this really appeals to me. I’ve seen this cake made on one of Heston’s TV shows, involving a spray paint can and requiring a lot of outdoor space… so like most of Heston’s recipes, I thought, not for me…. But from Heston’s original (I think) recipe, this sublime, rich chocolate mousse cake with a silky hit of chocolate glaze on the top and a bit of a surprise in the base, is surprisingly easy to make!
I was a bit nervous about making the chocolate mousse using dark chocolate with 55% cocoa solids, thinking it would be too strong for a dessert for kids, so I made a 50:50 mix of dark and white chocolate, using regular (35% fat) cream and created a marbled pattern. The cake is best eaten the day you make it, to maximise the effect from the popping candy. Using coated popping candy really helps to keep it ‘fresh’ and I wouldn’t recommend using untreated popping candy (such as ‘pop rocks’), as they will lose their pop pretty quickly. That said, if you buy ‘pop rocks’ or similar, it is not too hard to make your own coated popping candy using chocolate (instructions below).
My son had this idea for this spectacular dessert. He wanted a fresh berry cheesecake and I thought white and dark chocolate layers combined with different berries. This dessert was inspired by his triple layer icecream cake.
White chocolate cheesecake formed the bottom layer over a ginger-tinted biscuit base and I started thinking it might work to have a milk chocolate mousse over the top. In the end I decided on a bavarois because well, it sounded fancy and I wanted to try it, and it is supposed to result in a creamier and airier texture. You may well ask what a bavarois is? Well it is Bavarian cream….. basically a crème anglaise with gelatine and whipped cream folded through. Light and airy and very creamy. For the fruits I used raspberries in the white chocolate (as it’s a great pairing) and blueberry with the milk chocolate – frozen because they behave better. Fresh strawberries on top to really bring out the colour. You could use dark chocolate for the top layer (my son prefers milk chocolate) and you could top it with fresh whipped cream, but honestly, I don’t think it needs it. Continue reading
Chocolate. Hazelnut. Cream. Meringue. Chocolate. Strawberries. Thatisall. Devour