Every cook will tell you that there are certain dishes that they always get requests for. Maybe there’s a party or a gathering,and one poses the question ‘what can I bring?' The answer is invariably the same thing over and over.
My most requested item is my Raspberry & Brandy Chocolate Fudge Brownies.
Which is fine by me because they are very easy to make and I usually have the ingredients on hand in my pantry. It only needs 1 bowl for the preparation and no mixing equipment other than a whisk or a spatula. It's so simple that my children regularly put it together instead of me. Everyone (unless they are those freaky people who don’t like chocolate) loves it. And its flexible ie it can be cut into small pieces as a nibble to have with coffee, or you can serve it as a dessert, and plate it up with cream or ice cream and a fruit coulis.
Now there are probably thousands of variations of brownie recipes out there. I guess I call this one my own because I have kept elements of recipes I like, deleted the elements I don’t like and added elements of my own. I will however credit Bill Granger with heavily inspiring this recipe, mainly in technique, but the ingredients are altered somewhat.
My one big word of advice on making anything chocolate is not to compromise on the quality of the chocolate. ‘Dutch Cocoa’ refers to the process of how the cocoa is made. This type of cocoa is darker in colour and smoother in flavour than the standard cooking cocoa you find on the supermarket shelves here in Australia. I usually buy my Dutch cocoa from delicatessens or from my local Italian supermarket. When I see it I usually buy 3 or 4 packs so that I always have it on hand.
As for dark cooking chocolate, I only buy chocolate stating at least 60% cocoa solids. Its much more readily available in supermarkets nowadays, either with the baking ingredients or you can find it in the confectionary aisle. Lindt and Green& Blacks both have 100gm blocks of 70% and 85% cocoa solid chocolate, and you can find it in any supermarket. I prefer the chopped block chocolate to the little choc bits because I like the non uniform sized pieces through the finished product.
I always use frozen berries when they are called for in a baked product for two reasons. First, excellent quality is available at any time of the year and they are relatively inexpensive compared to the fresh ones. Secondly, they tend to disintergrate less in the cooking process as they are frozen when they are added.
Dark chocolate and raspberries are one of my favourite ever flavour combinations. The bitter-sweet depths of the chocolate against the tart berry flavour is an exquisite combination....
Raspberry and Brandy Chocolate Fudge Brownies
2.5 cups caster sugar
½ cup high quality dutch cocoa powder
1 cup plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
4 beaten eggs
250g melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
100gm dark chocolate bits or chopped chocolate
1 cup of frozen raspberries
¼ cup brandy ( or indeed any spirit or liqueur you like)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees c . Prepare a 22 cm square cake tin by lining with baking paper, ensuring that the paper extends higher than the edge of the tin. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add eggs, butter and vanilla, brandy and combine well. Add chocolate pieces and raspberries, and fold through mixture.
Pour into tin and bake for about 1 hour. Test centre with a skewer and remove from oven when it comes out clean. I cooked this batch for 1 hour 15 min. If its not cooked after 1 hour, check at 5 minute intervals until its done.
This batter is very wet and dense so cooking slowly is of the utmost importance.
When finished baking remove and allow to cool in tin. Lift out of tin by holding the sides of the baking paper and place onto chopping board. Cut into small pieces. I use and electric knife but a serrated bread knife works well too. For 'with coffee' sized pieces, I cut it into quarters length wise and then sixths across, resulting in 24 pieces. If dessert pieces are required, then quaters both ways making 16 pieces.
Dust brownies with cocoa powder or icing sugar.
Beware: Make them once and you’ll be making them for many years to come!
What dish do you get constant requests for? What is it about the dish that makes it a favourite?