I love brownies. I imagine that pretty much everyone loves brownies. But here’s the question: how to make them better? What’s the ultimate brownie?
I was rummaging through my cupboards the other day when I found a jar of Dulche de Leche. This traditional Argentinian caramel is, in my humble opinion, one of the most delicious things in the entire world! (and it’s low fat too. Yes, seriously).
You can make it yourself by gently boiling a tin of condensed milk, but I must confess I tend to buy it as I never get quite as amazing results.
Mmm, just look at that. Doesn’t it look fabulous?
So, I thought; why not combine dense, squidgy chocolate brownies with a swirl of delicious Dulche de Leche? Surely one of the best, most indulgent puddings ever!
The brownie recipe is adapted from a book called ‘The Sweet Life in Paris’ – well worth a read! I have jigged around the quantites, and added ground almonds to make it a little denser and moister.
What you’ll need:
100 grams plain flour
40 grams ground almonds
120g butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
175 dark chocolate, finely chopped (use a brand with a high cocoa content of at least 70% – Green & Blacks is good and reliable)
25g cocoa powder
3 large eggs
200 grams soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
Roughly 250ml Dulche de Leche (this is variable, use a little more or a little less depending on your preference, but don’t go overboard or your brownies won’t set!) I like Casa Argentina Dulche de Leche, available from Waitrose – it comes in a 450g glass jar and it’s the smoothest I’ve found.
An 8-inch (20cm) square cake tin
A length of tin foil
A hand or balloon whisk
A wooden spoon or spatula
A wire cooling rack
A spoon and knife
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Grease your cake tin lightly with butter, and line with the tin foil, like so:
You might need to use two pieces of foil and overlap them.
Grease the tin again, over the foil.
Using tin foil gives the outer edge of the brownie a good, chewy outer edge and stops it from falling apart when you try to cut it – important in this case because this is a very squidgy brownie!
Melt the butter on a low heat in a saucepan, until is it beginning to froth gently.
Now add the chopped chocolate – stir it continuously until the chocolate has fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
Now, take the pan off the heat, and whisk in the cocoa powder.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Your mixture might go a little lumpy at this point; if it does, don’t worry! It’s just the eggs reacting to the slightly warm mixture. It’s not a problem.
Now, fold in the sugar, then the flour, and finally your vanilla extract.
This will give you a beautifully rich, dense and extremely thick mixture!
Now for the fun bit!
Assemble your greased and lined cake tin, your brownie mixture and the Dulche de Leche.
Spoon half of your brownie mixture into the cake tin, levelling it gently with a spoon.
Make sure it gets into all the corners! Don’t worry; again, it will look a bit lumpy.
Now, using a spoon, drop just under half of the Dulche de Leche on top of the brownie mixture, in even blobs. Swirl a knife through the mixture carefully.
Next, spoon over the rest of your brownie mixture on top. Level the top as best you can, then drop the rest of your Dulche de Leche into the centre of your mixture.
Using a knife, very gently swirl it out until you have a pretty swirled pattern!
Pop the tray in the oven. After half an hour, take the tray out. If the centre feels just lightly firm, they are done! If the centre is not firm, pop back in the oven for up to an extra ten minutes.
Once your brownies are done, take them out of the oven and leave the tray to rest for five minutes.
Then, take your wire cooling rack and gently lay it on top of the brownie tray. In one quick motion, turn it over so that the tray is upside-down on top of the cooling rack. Carefully lift the tin off the top of the brownies – the foil should still be on top of the mixture.
Wait for another five minutes, then gently peel the foil off the brownies – be patient, if you do it too early you’ll lose chunks of brownie when peeling it off!
Now, slide onto a chopping board, cut into squares and enjoy! These are great on their own, cold or fresh out of the oven, or warmed through with a dollop of cream.
These brownies will keep quite happily in the fridge or an airtight container for up to three days.
Note: I am really sorry but I don’t have a picture of the finished article; Alex and his brother arrived home and thought it would be fun to start pulling my hair and taking pictures of me with ‘stretch face’ and so I sort of forgot to take the last batch of photo’s.
See you tomorrow!
Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Ever wondered how to make a bed properly, how to cook easy bread from scratch, how to make the perfect cake, how to get tough stains out easily and quickly? My friends, I am rubbish at many things but due to a strange addiction to Mrs Beeton in my early teens and a very accomplished group of friends and family, I have access to a fairly sizeable amount of domestic knowledge. Test me – send me your domestic conundrums and we will see what we can do!