Chocolate brownies are very high on my list of the perfect treat. I love chocolate and so often like to bake with chocolate but more often than not once baked the treats don't have that chocolate hit. But brownies defy that- the fact that they remain gooey on the inside (I won't go into the debate here between crumbly and gooey brownies- I like mine gooey and they are my idea of a perfect brownie) and are not fully cooked through means that they keep that intensity.
Start by preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and lining a square springbased tin with baking paper (about 25 cms).
Put a heatproof bowl over boiling water and put in 250g butter and 200g good quality dark chocolate and stir until it has all melted. This is a very rich recipe and so try out different levels of dark chocolate. If you use 70% cocoa solids it will be very intense- possibly a bit strong for children or those that don't like a real chocolate hit! Even just using straight forward dark chocolate will give you a lovely rich brownie.
Then add a tbsp of brandy. This can be left out but it adds a nice kick. You can also add chopped nuts at this point if you like some crunch in your brownie (I prefer them unadultered). I also like to sometimes add 100g white chocolate buttons which gives an added chocolate hit or for a bit of a twist the grated zest of an orange which is great if you are using it as a dessert.
Weigh out 80g cocoa powder, 65g flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 360g caster sugar. Add this to the chocolate. In a separate bowl whisk up 4 large eggs. Whisk them for several minutes (preferably with an electric handheld whisk) so that they really increase in volume and get very fluffy since this will add volume to the brownies.
Add this to the chocolate mix and stir in so as not to knock out too much air.
Pour this into the prepared baking tin and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Unlike other cakes- when you bring these out to test then the squewer should not come out clean- it needs to still be gooey in the centre. The middle cooks slower than the outside but you do need it to be starting to firm up in the middle so you can cut it. Keep a close eye on them when cooking- they go from underdone to really overdone very quickly. Once you are happy they are cooked to the right level then take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Then remove the base from the tray and put on a chopping board and cut up into pieces.
Eat warm (on its own or with a dollop of good vanilla ice cream) or allow to cool and store in an airtight container. They are great at parties, served as a dessert at the end of a dinner party or just as a treat! Just writing about them I am already thinking that this weekend needs a batch!