Friday, March 25, 2011

Simple Chocolate Brownies

I was sent this recipe by a friend ages ago, when I was trying to hunt down the perfect brownie (not that my search has completed now - it probably never will). Last night I was looking for something to bake for work - I need to induct my new colleagues into the practice of eating more sugar and fat than perhaps they need - and spied this hidden amongst scores of other I-must-try-this-someday recipes.

It's dead easy, and the best part: you only need a saucepan, a wooden spoon, scales and a pan to bake them in. I love recipes like that - so little clean-up. I wouldn't be without my kitchen scales and prefer weighing everything if I can - since you can then weigh the ingredients straight into the bowl.

Like most brownies, it's not the cheapest baking you could make - adding lots of chocolate and butter drives the price up a bit - but making a whole batch should only cost a little more than buying one piece of brownie at a cafe and it's just as good as most cafe brownies I've tried (I've actually sworn off them, as good ones are so hard to find - feel free to offer your recommendations in the comments! - but the bad ones can be quite horrible).

As always I used chocolate I like to eat - it makes a big difference to the taste. Usually I prefer eating milk chocolate but this recipe has quite a lot of sugar in it and I felt using dark chocolate would help balance that out, so went for Whittakers 70% Dark Ghana, which I was pretty glad about. The recipe calls for two cups of add-ins - chocolate chips or walnuts - and I used all chocolate chips (an assortment of part-bags I had left, so I had dark, milk and white). In retrospect, and although I usually prefer my brownie nut-free, I think chopped walnuts would have been better than the extra chocolate in this version. 

I think it's important to try brownies both hot from the oven and once they're completely cooled - purely in the interest of research, you understand. ;-) So we had some last night, and to be honest I found it too sweet as a dessert brownie - the sugar was just a bit much. I have had another today, though, and they are much better now - the chocolate flavour manages to overcome the sugar. I think I still prefer the ones I made last time, but these ones are still good once cooled - I may be biased as I do prefer eating them fresh out of the oven and since these ones didn't deliver in that area they don't make it to the top of the podium.

So: quick and easy to make, very sweet, and plenty good enough to impress sugar-starved workmates. ;-) I did overcook mine slightly - so easy to do with brownies! - so I trimmed off the edges (who am I kidding, I always trim the edges off brownies and slices to make them look pretty... I just normally eat the offcuts, but this time they're not so nice).

Do you like nuts in your brownie or do you prefer a super chocolatey chocolate hit?

Easy Brownies (adapted from Yogic Knitter's recipe)
125g butter
100g dark chocolate
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
90g flour
200g of any of the following: chopped walnuts, macadamias or pecans, or dark, milk or white chocolate drops

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Line a brownie tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and mix, then add the nuts or extra chocolate and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a skewer comes out without goo on it. Cool and cut into squares.


  1. They look so good! I like cranberries in mine, the slightly sour taste is good with all that suger, but nuts are also yum, esp walnuts. Have yet to taste a shop brought brownie that is anywhere close to home baked....

  2. looks good. Only two eggs? Your pic has 4?

  3. Plum Kitchen, cranberries sound excellent, yum!

    Jacksta, sharp eyes. ;-) I doubled the recipe - so yes, only two - unless you want twice as much. :-D

  4. Starbucks Chocolate and Espresso


  5. Nadine, thanks - any particular Starbucks? My understanding is that local businesses do the baking for them so depending which one you go to the goods on offer may differ. :-)

  6. I just found your blog when I was looking for the cupcake collections opening hours! Great blog BTW. Yesterday I once again made Sophie Grays awesome maple and macadamia nut brownie (sans the macadamis I'm not that fussed on nuts in my brownie). I have to say most successful brownie I've ever made and SO good and moist. So good. I'm sure you know this but as one of my bug-bears is dry brownies I read best not to cut a brownie until you are going to serve it to help with the moistness factor - which is probably another reason cafe ones are often bad. (same with cheesecake in my opinion when it's good it's amazing but when it isn't it's just a waste of calories!!) Sophie's one is her variation version on 'Fran's Brownie ' in her second or 3rd book. It's all good in my opinon.

  7. The one I swear by is Jo Seager's one from The Cook School Recipes, with berries poked in the top. Every time I make it I get lots of compliments on it. But definitely worth going for better chocolate in it though, last time I made it with Signature Range choc buttons and true, I had run out of cocoa so it wasn't as dark as it should be, but it was noticeably lighter and sweeter than usual. It's usually good with Nestle Melts even though I know they're not the best chocolate! Try it.

  8. When brownies are good they are SO GOOD, but when they are bad they are horrid. I never order them when I'm out, too disappointing and not worth the calories. I read a recipe a while ago that had something like 12 eggs in it, was in the NZ Herald (I think!) and had won some kind of brownie competition. Always meant to try it but have never got around to it! I like them slightly chewy, and can take or leave nuts.

  9. oh yes when making something like brownies I use 'real' 70% chocolate like cadburys or whitakkers non of the supermarket 'cooking' chocolates are more than about 40-50%. Rachel I think we have similar taste!

  10. makeitgiveit, Anita, I clearly need to focus my attention on our countrywomen's recipes - both of those sound great. Anita, I actually got the Cook School Recipes book for Christmas and it is looking a little sad, so it might get an airing soon.

    Rachel, totally with you on the calorie wastage - I hate nothing more than eating something I know is unhealthy and not enjoying the taste. 12 eggs sounds pretty intense!

  11. just made the brownies.. yummo! I work at Moore Wilson's and pretty sure this would pass the test and sell for something ridiculous! Thanks for the recipe :)

  12. Oh, dangerous! I don't think I could deal with the temptation of working there! Glad you liked the brownies, though - I reckon home-baked is always best. :-)

  13. Just a question re your brownies, the recipe says 2 eggs but the photo shows you have 4 in the mix?

  14. Maureen, excellent question, that's because I'm a guts (and also like to share the baking love) and made a double batch. :-)


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