I have to say that the following recipe has nothing to do with Christmas. This year, unfortunately or not, I didn’t really bother much with the preparations, especially when it comes to food. I left everything to the last minute, because I can afford it since I won’t have lots of guests. But I’ll be making some mince pies and a traditional Maltese Christmas log during the weekend (which is simpler than the one they make here. I plan to post something about these in the coming days, with photos of course).
However there’s nothing to stop you from making these beautiful babies for the kids or indeed for a cocktail party, when you want something sweet and dare I say it, easy to eat when your guests are standing up. I promise you that whoever has a taste of these brownies will never guess you made them with ordinary newsagent chocolate. They are really good and not expensive to make, which is indeed useful during the festive season. You need:
- 150g unsalted butter,
- 300g light brown sugar
- 75g cocoa powder, sifted
- 150g plain or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
- icing sugar, for dusting
- Grease and line a square tin (23 to 25cm; which ever you have) with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 190ºC.
- Melt the butter very gently in a medium pan to avoid burning and stir in the sugar. Allow the sugar to melt into the butter.
- In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add these in the pan with the butter mixture and stir. You will have a very dry mixture here but do not worry. Now remove the pan from the heat.
- In a jug (or indeed in the now empty bowl you used for sifting the dry ingredients) whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together, and add these to the pan with the other ingredients.
- Stir in the chopped chunks of chocolate and use a spatula to scrape and spread the brownie mixture into your prepared square tin. Bake for around 25 minutes, till the brownies are dry on top but still squidgy in the middle. They will continue to cook for a little while outside of the oven anyway so don’t leave them in too long, even though you will be tempted to. A skewer or knife should *not* come out clean here.
- Let them cool and then cut them into 12 to 16 large pieces, but that’s totally up to you. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top, imagining it was snow if you like. I left mine bare, but I shouldn’t have really!
Enjoy and Happy Holidays! I wish you all the best!
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Chatto & Windus, 2010.)