Monday, January 14, 2008

A Weekend Full of Cooking, and a Recipe for Chocolate Brownies

Last weekend I baked no less than four cakes (chocolate buttercream cake with mocha glaze, saffron and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, Manhattan cheesecake, and chocolate brownies), a cookie sheet full of small potato puff rolls, and prepared a festive salmon dish with lime and mustard. These were all for K's mum's birthday parties on the weekend. We attended just the one on Saturday, but were asked to prepare cakes for the other birthday party session as well:) Of course, I also cooked casual meals for myself and K. (sauerkraut soup with chicken drumsticks for dinner last night, and curd cheese patties with apples for dessert; K. made us these pretty curd cheese pancakes for brunch yesterday. We enjoyed the pancakes with some Cherry Republic's Blue Cherry Preserve - a surprise gift from one of my US readers, Ülle.

I love weekends like that.

And it looks like there's something American in the air at the moment. Only recently I found myself making coleslaw in the midst of winter. And two of the four cakes I brought along to K's mum's place were distinctly American - Manhattan cheesecake and Chocolate brownies. It's not surprising, of course, considering that many of my favourite food blogs and daily reads are written by Americans. No wonder then that my culinary mind and appetite lusts after American classics every now and then. However, the brownie recipe I've used for years is from Thorntons, the British high-street chocolatier. I've tried few others, but this is the one I keep returning to over and over again, when I'm craving chocolate. I don't like crumbly and over-baked brownies. This recipe results in brownies with a perfectly chewy-crispy top, and moist-chocolatey inside (even if one cannot really see that on the photo). I love large squares of it when still warm. And when it's cold, I cut it into tiny squares - no bigger than 2 cm - and eat as nutty chocolate candies :)

Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16

200 g butter
200 g dark chocolate (min. 70%)
3 medium eggs
250 g sugar
100 g plain/all-purpose flour
100 g walnuts, chopped
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Line a square cake tin (24x24 cm) with a parchment paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie or microwave. Cool a little.
Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixture. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
Fold in flour, salt, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
Pour the batter into the tin, and bake in a preheated 170˚C oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is chewy-crisp on the top and still moist inside.
Serve when still warm.
Alternatively, let cool in a tin, then cut into (smallish) squares.


ksklein said...

delicious... i always want to try making my own brownies. but there are so many recipes that i just feel overwhelmed. do you have a suggestion which chocolate brownie recipe you have tried is the best so far?

Lydia said...

No matter how good my brownies are, I'm always looking for a better recipe. Is there such a thing as the ultimate brownie? Or is this my excuse for baking more and more?! Will definitely try your recipe, because I also like my brownies on the chewy side.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I love weekends like that also!

Rosa said...

Your photo is gorgeous! And, as for the brownies, well... I have to do something with those 2.5 kilos of Barry chocolate that I bought recently for purposes of "economy"! This looks like the perfect start.

Wendy said...

Your idea of a perfect weekend is VERY similar to mine. :)

The Cooking Ninja said...

Those brownies look delicious. My better half loves brownies. Whenever I bake them, he will not let me give away some. :)

swirlingnotions said...

Mmmmm . . . My friend from Austin, TX just brought me a box of cappucino chipotle brownies which I'm dying to try. Now I've got two recipes to try!

Brilynn said...

I've had a craving for brownies lately, I need to make some!

K & S said...

these look delicious! will make some soon :)

lobstersquad said...

baking chewy brownies in my oven is high-anxiety work, but oh the result! always worth it.
and the little squares for later, yum.

Chloe said...

i love weekends like that too! Your photographs are so beautiful and warm, this blog is getting better and better and better. Will you consider a cookbook? (I am first in line to buy it).

joey said...

What a classic this is...I think you can never have to many brownie or chocolate chip cookie recipes to try! :) I am definitely filing this one too...thanks Pille for sharing it! They do look divine :)

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Very nice recipe, and seems easy... I have to finally try making brownies...
Have a good day,

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You baked four cakes, and didn't invite me over? What's up with that? ;)

Kevin Kossowan said...

It has been FAR too long since I've made brownies. FAR too long.

Laurie Constantino said...

I love weekends like that, they will buoy me through the coming week in a good mood. You've described exactly the kind of brownies I like - I hate the cakey kind or the ones that are dry in the middle. Yours look heavenly.

Pille said...

Ksklein – my own, of course :)

Lydia – well, I think I’ll bake my own brownies for a few more times, and then when (if?) I get tired, I venture out there in the foodblogosphere and look for other brownie recipes :)

Gretchen Noelle – they’re great, aren’t they!

Rosa – 2.5 kilos of chocolate??? I can think of many chocolate cakes to make :)

Wendy – well, us, foodbloggers, aren’t so different :)

The Cooking Ninja – I was a cruel woman this time – I didn’t let K. try any until we were at his mum’s place..

SwirlingNotions – will you share the cappuccino chipotle brownie recipe? I’ve tried chocolate chilli muffins before, but chipotle brownie sounds like a dream!

Brilynn – here’s the perfect recipe then :)

K&S – thank you!

Lobstersquad – I can just imagine how much better and more rewarding the brownies taste after all that anxiety :)

Chloe – thank you for your very kind words :) No cookbook just yet (and if there is, it’ll be in Estonian at first). Re: photography – K. is taking at least half of them, plus he paid for all the new gear, so he deserves all the praise :)

Joey – not even sure I’ve got a good chocolate chip cookie recipe!?!?

Margot – of course you must!!

Susan – they were all eat-immediately-type cakes. But if you ever come over, I’ll bake any cakes you request :)

Kevin – so how will you deal with it then? LOL

Laurie – they were actually much moister in reality than they appear on the photo, believe me :)