If you hadn’t already known, I’ll tell you now.
I don’t really fancy chocolate except when it comes in the form of desserts…but just some cakes and not even stuff like ice cream. Heck, I don’t even touch chocolate bars. I buy them but I hardly eat any; most are left for guests or friends who always enjoy it more than I do. Since Nil is not really a cake person (whereas I am), I decided to merge the best of both worlds in the form of brownies. These nearly dense yet uncake-like squares appeal to both of us; I like the edges which are “crispy” while he doesn’t mind the chewy, fudgy-like middles.
The original recipe from Simple Home Baking by Carole Clements calls for more sugar and chocolate chips but since the cooking chocolate I’m using is already sweet (and I don’t fancy drowning in sugary sweetness), I cut back on the sugar and added in some cocoa powder which helps take off a little bit of that icky oh-to-sweet taste you can get with chocolate cakes and desserts. We both like crunchy brownies and since I have some hazelnuts left, I thought I’d toss that in as well. Turned out to be a pretty good choice, I must say! The resulting brownie is still moist, rich but crunchy and just right for my sugary sweet tooth!
As with all procedures related to melting chocolate, do note that chocolate should not be cooked or melted via a direct flame but by using a bain marie; essentially, you place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot filled with simmering water. The steam rising from the water gets trapped under the bowl and generates gentle heat which will melt chocolate chunks. Cooking the chocolate with a direct flame will result in the separation of fats and cocoa in the chocolate – something that is NOT desirable!
Chocolate chip brownies with hazelnuts
Adapted from Simple Home Baking by Carole Clements
115 plain chocolate
115 gms butter
150 gms sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
140 gms all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Handful of chocolate chips
Handful of chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and butter the sides & bottom of a 9 inch pan.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl, place on a bain marie and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have completely melted and is smooth. Turn off the heat, and allow to cool.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture before folding in. DO NOT overbeat – it will result in a cakey brownie.
- Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips before pouring the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until just set, about 30 minutes. Brownies should be slightly moist inside. Remove and cool in the pan. Once ready, cut and serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.