As you all know I adore chocolate brownie and am a big fan of it in many guises. I have just been asked if I can provide 'the yummiest chocolate brownie recipe'. It needs to be a traditional style brownie...'the perfect dark, fudgey, goeey, decadent brownie that can be eaten warm with ice cream, does not contain nuts and can be used to wow someone on a date!'
I have tried many, many different recipes - this is my favourite and hopefully fits the bill.
275g 70% cocoa chocolate - choose the best tasting, most delicious you can find (I use Montezumas which is made near here, Green and Blacks is great - the quality of the chocolate makes a massive difference to the taste and texture of the brownie)
250g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
150g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 large free range eggs and 1 egg yolk
60g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
65g cocoa powder (I find G&B's the best)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (about 170 fan) and line a brownie tin with foil (shiny side up) and parchment (on top) - leave plenty hanging over the edge so you can use it to lift it out later.
Break 200g of the chocolate into pieces and put into a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, melt gently and do not allow the bowl to touch the boiling water. Remove from the heat as soon as it has melted.
Put the very soft butter into the mixer bowl with both the sugars and beat furiously with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer for at least two minutes.
Break all the eggs into a bowl , add the vanilla and beat with a balloon whisk until quite frothy.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, add about a quarter of the egg mixture then still using the whisk attachment, whisk in the egg on high speed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and add more egg and whisk again. Continue until all the egg has been added and then leave whisking for a further 3-4 minutes at a medium to high speed. This always gives the perfect flaky top.
Roughly chop the remaining chocolate into chunks (keep some a bit larger as you will want a few melting puddles of chocolate) and put to one side.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder onto a piece of baking paper, back into a mixing bowl then again onto a piece of baking paper - this seems a bit indulgent but really does make a difference. This is a recipe for brownie addicts after all!
Find a large metal spoon or palette knife - do not use a spatula or wooden spoon and do not even contemplate using the mixer - and gently fold in the melted chocolate. Then sprinkle the sifted dry ingredients onto the mixture and use a gentle figure of eight movement to fold them in. Finally, add the chocolate chunks and very gentley fold them in too.
Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into the lined tin, and spread gently into the corners.
Bake in the preheated oven (middle shelf) for about 35 minutes - ovens vary so much it is hard to be accurate. I would thoroughly recommend an oven thermometer as you can then be more confident the temperature is right. After 35 mins check if a flaky crust has formed and test with a sharp knife - it should be covered in melted chocolate , you will need to taste it to check it doesn't taste eggy! Bake for a bit longer but do not overbake! Keep checking every few minutes.
Take the brownies out of the oven and put them straight into the fridge - I know this sounds odd but it is the quickest way to stop them cooking and to keep them gooey and dense. If your fridge is full or you think this is too crazy, stand the brownie (still in the tin) in a large oven tray filled with cold water (do not overfill as you will soak your brownie). Take them out of the fridge, or the cold water bath, after about half an hour but try to resist cutting them for about an hour or so and they will set and go fudgy.
Use the paper to lift them out of the tray and slice with a large sharp knife.
If serving with vanilla ice cream, pop a few slices on a lined tray in the oven to warm through for about ten minutes or gently heat in the microwave on the defrost setting for about 30 seconds.