Wednesday, 5 December 2007

B = Baking and Brownies

When I was a child growing up, baking was a way of life in New Zealand – or rural NZ at least. Everyone’s mother baked. Cake and biscuit tins were always full. Girls learned to bake when they were still young, starting with pikelets (with cream and raspberry jam) and scones (date scones were my favourites) before being let loose on real cakes and biscuits. 
Community functions usually concluded with a big spread of baking. Lamingtons, pikelets, scones, brandy snaps, sponge cakes, citrus slices, Neenish tarts and meringues. Everything laden with butter and topped or filled with whipped cream. On the bottom of any invitation or event notice were the now infamous words : Ladies, A Plate. My mother’s specialty – and my favourite - was a chocolate fudge slice. Occasionally someone’s mother would bring bought biscuits. The shame.

So it was a mystery to me when I first heard an American talk about “baking from scratch.” What did they mean? What was the alternative? 
Of course, in the 21st century we don’t have the time to bake, buying ready-made is quicker, easier and often cheaper. Not having children means I don’t have to bake muffins for school lunches or afternoon teas either.

But … every so often I get the urge to bake. Usually once or twice a year, and often my childhood favourite, chocolate fudge. But a while ago I heard an American chef on the radio, giving a recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Brownies. 

I have a weakness for chocolate.
I have a weakness for fudge.
I have a weakness particularly for American-style fudgy brownies.

I downloaded the recipe.
I waited a week.
Feeling quite proud of myself, I waited another week. 

Then ... I made them.
Ate them.
Rolled my eyes in ecstasy.

But now I worry that I will seek any and every opportunity to make these again. 

I made them two weeks ago, just to cheer myself up.

Then my sister visited on Sunday. Guess what we had for dessert - with fresh strawberries to try to assuage the guilt. 

I am so thankful for this recipe for perfect fudgy chocolate brownies. But I am fearful for my thighs.

Translation note for North Americans:
Biscuits = cookies
Pikelets = small drop pancakes
Scones = biscuits


  1. Can you share this divine recipe? If not, when would be a good time to visit?

  2. Helen, come on over! ;-)
    I'm sure it's nothing special to you guys, who are familiar with fudgy brownies. But here it is anyway:

    Apologies - amounts are in grams and temperatures in Celsius!

    · 225g good quality 70 percent dark chocolate, in pieces
    · 85g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    · 180g sugar
    · good pinch of salt
    · 2 eggs
    · 1 tsp vanilla extract
    · 60g plain flour
    · 50-100g toasted, broken walnuts 50g chopped dark chocolate (optional)

    Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan and line with baking paper so the paper pops up over the side of the pan. Butter the paper.
    Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a heatproof bowl over a gently simmering pan of water. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Take the pan off the heat and, with a wooden spoon, mix in the sugar and salt thoroughly, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and flour and beat until the batter is very shiny and comes away from the side of the bowl. This may take a few
    Fold in the walnuts and optional chopped chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out moist but clean. Don’t overcook. Brownies are best when moist and fudgy.
    Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before cutting into squares.

  3. I am now officially hungry and wondering if I have any chocolate in the house.

    My favorite line: "The shame."

  4. that is a grouse looking lamington.....

  5. Mrs S, I put that there for you specially! ;-)


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