Waiting for Agnes

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My new best friend November 25, 2010

Is there anything chocolatey that cannot be improved by the addition of a teaspoon of peppermint essence? Locked in my current obsession for all things minty, I think not. These are certainly no exception:

Hot Damn I Love These Choc-Mint Brownies

(…so much so that they were made and eaten far too fast for photos. Just use your imagination. Or don’t waste the time – just make them. Stat.)

200 grams of dark eating chocolate, roughly chopped

165 grams of unsalted butter, chopped

1 teaspoon of peppermint essence

325 grams of caster sugar

130 grams of plain flour

3 eggs

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 fan forced)

Butter and line a square cake/brownie tin

In a small bowl, over just simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together.

Stir until smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the peppermint essence.

Put the sugar in a medium bowl.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar, mixing to combine.

Add the flour and mix to combine.

Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Pour into your prepared tin.

Bake for 25-35 minutes. (I like them less done, rather than more, and put them in the fridge to firm up a bit. This leaves them nicely gooey and so coolly minty.)

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so, then turn onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar if you want, but it’s by no means essential.

In view of the current rate of essence consumption I’ve decided to make my own. This recipe looks like a goer. As soon as the torrential rain eases up, I’ll be out to pick some mint. Watch this space……


The Ghost of Chocolate fixes past November 3, 2010

Trying to get at the keyboard under the mound of random stuff on our desk, I unearthed two recipe books. When I got over the distracted drooling and planning for desserts of the future (coconut mousse! dondurma kaymalki!), I remembered I had dumped them here to post from. Apparently two weeks ago I must have been on some kind of quest to plough through as many 250 gram blocks of Whittaker’s 72% as I could get my hands on. And who can blame me?

Unadulterated Brownies

courtesy of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, largely unphotographed due to general rushedness and distraction

200 grams of dark eating chocolate, roughly chopped

175 grams of unsalted butter

325 grams of caster sugar

130 grams of plain flour

3 eggs

icing sugar to dust

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 fan forced).

Butter and line a brownie tin (I use a square cake tin, from which I get about 16 brownies, 12 if I’m feeling greedy)

Melt the chocolate and butter gently in a bowl over just simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Remove from the heat.

Add sugar and stir to combine.

Add the flour and stir to combine.

Add the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.

Spread into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. They should be just dry on top but still soft in the middle. Less is always more for brownies.

Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and eat.

These are a dense, fudgy delight. One is never enough. And you can eat them with…

Very Chocolate Ice Cream

courtesy of Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis’s ice ceam and iced desserts

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of cornflour

350 mls of full fat milk

350 mls of thickened cream

250 grams of dark eating chocolate

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl.

Whisk until thick and foamy.

Prepare a bowl over a bowl of iced water. Set aside.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and bring it just to the boil.

Gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continually until thick enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon.

No wonder I was making ice-cream…how gorgeous was the weather? And how idyllic the view from our stove. I love finding photos like this, a reminder of the moments of domestic contentedness that make up for all the ragged, weary, shouty times.

Take off the heat and pour into the bowl that you’ve set aside.

Break up 210 grams of the chocolate and stir this into the custard until melted.

Set aside while it cools.

Whisk the cream into soft peaks and fold into the chocolate custard mixture.

Churn in an ice-cream machine (begged, borrowed, stolen, owned, just grab one somehow) until scoopable.

Chop the remaining 40 grams of chocolate as roughly or finely as you prefer and throw into the ice cream machine at the last minute. Churn for a few minutes to combine.

Transfer to a 1.5 litre airtight container and freeze for a few hours.

This requires no further description. Just eat it.