Birthday Brownies

….or, y’know, a Wednesday. I won’t tell.
Best Ever Chocolate Brownies - The Cardiff Cwtch

Happy Friday! And Happy Birthday to my (not so little) brother, who’s turning 31 tomorrow (…and then it’s my birthday on Sunday, but I’m not going to mention how old I’ll be turning… yeesh). He’s a big fan of the chocolate brownie in all it’s glory and so naturally, I had to bake him some to celebrate. Trouble is, until recently I was yet to find my holy grail brownie recipe. You know, one that’s both basic and brilliant enough to pull out of your sleeve when you need it most (you know, “bring a cake” coffee mornings, bake sales, Wednesdays…) – one that doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, just the stuff that you’ve got stashed in your kitchen cupboard. Slightly crisp around the edges, but deliciously gooey in the middle. Perfecto.

A couple of weeks ago, Sunny came back from work with a rough print out of a chocolate brownie recipe that been pinging around the office via email which claimed to make the best ever brownies. I mean, you can trawl the internet for hours searching through millions of recipes claiming to make the best ever brownies, or sift through cook books – but, the truth is, I’m far more likely to pay attention to recipes on scraps of paper that are passed from person to person. Those kind of recipes are gold dust. And so, I gave it a go one Sunday and by ‘eck, they’re good. And adaptable – which is exactly the kind of basic and brilliant recipe I love. One that I can fiddle around with to my heart’s content; throw in any filling or flavours I fancy, and top with whatever I like – which on this occasion was plenty of extra chocolate, toasted marshmallows, honeycomb and some birthday sprinkles. 🙂

Birthday Brownies - The Cardiff Cwtch

Birthday Brownies

Super chocolaty, and with aaaaaall the trimmings.
Ingredients
  • 200g butter
  • 200g milk dark chocolate
  • 140g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 50g marshmallows
  • Honeycomb pieces (I found mine in Tesco)
  • Rainbow sprinkles
Best Ever Chocolate Brownie Recipe - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. First off, turn on your oven and set it to 180°C, and grease and line a deep baking tin.
  2. Break up your chocolate and pop it into a microwavable mixing bowl, along with the butter. Melt them together in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Stir to combine, and then leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar. Slowly pour the egg mix into the melted butter and chocolate mix, stirring as you go.
  4. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and then add to the rest of the mix – stirring until everything is smooth and mixed together.
  5. Pour the mix into the tin, and then bake in the oven for 25 minutes. When it comes out, it should have slight cracks around the edge and might have a bit of a wobble in the middle (…am I describing myself here?) – that’s fine, it’s cooked – it just needs a couple of hours in the tin to cool and set.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, honeycomb, marshmallow and sprinkles – using a blowtorch to singe the marshmallows.
  7. Store it in a tin, and NOT in the fridge.
Crisp and gooey chocolate chip brownies - The Cardiff Cwtch

Have a great weekend everyone – and happy birthday to my baby brother! 🙂

5 Recipes for Bonfire Night

DSC_0003_zpsgaboeiyt

I love Bonfire Night!  Not just for the fireworks and sparklers, but for the food.  It’s THE night of the year for wrapping up warm, swigging a hot chocolate and stuffing your face with something sweet and fattening.  It’s my kind of night out.  So without further ado, here are five recipes that are perfect for cold and smoky November nights out (…or in!). 🙂

DSC_0021

1. Apple Pie Cake

I can’t stop raving about this apple cake – honestly, it’s just perfect!  Cinnamon-spiced apples and soft sponge due to the buttermilk.  Perfect warmed up with a bit of custard, or ice cream.  Yum!

YXIAYpI

2. Gingerbread Hot Choc-tail

If you haven’t got a hot chocolate in your hand while you’re watching the fireworks, then you’re doing something wrong!  But this ain’t no ordinary hot chocolate – it’s hot choctail.  Definitely one just for the grownups with a pinch of ground ginger and a slug of amaretto.  Slurrrrrrrp, hic!  😉

dsc_0010

3. Leftover Pumpkin Traybake

Halloween is over!  But what did you do with all the leftover guts after carving your pumpkin?  Don’t throw them away, bake them into something sweet that’s worth scoffing while you watch those fireworks.  This easy tray bake made from spiced pumpkin goop is topped with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds – absolutely nothing goes to waste with this recipe! 🙂

DSC_0004_zpsob1yawrn

4. Bonfire Night Doughnut Balls

Doughnuts are so easy to make!  (Almost too easy…)  And this bag of bombs rolled in cinnamon sugar are the perfect snack for scoffing outside in the cold – especially if you warm them up.  You can also roll your dough around a chocolate truffle if you fancy taking things to the next level and giving your doughnuts a molten chocolaty centre. 😉

DSC_0004_zpsz96rssyl

5. Mars Bar Brownies

This time of year all I want to do is curl up in a baggy hoodie and pjs and eat things that are warm and gooey and ideally full of chocolate and these brownies tick all those boxes.  No regrets!

Happy Bonfire Night everyone!  Stay warm and look after your pets 🙂

 

Mars Bar & Walnut Brownies

No apologies here; this time of year all I want to do is curl up in a baggy hoodie and pjs and eat things that are warm and gooey and ideally full of chocolate.  Brownies tick all those boxes, and yeah, the regrets will probably kick in when jumper season is over, but… Nope.  I changed my mind.  No regrets, ever.  I firmly believe that a little bit of what you fancy does you good – especially when it’s cold and miserable outside.  🙂

Mars Bar & Walnut Brownies

Ingredients

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 35g self raising flour
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 2 Mars Bars chopped into chunks
  • Tsp of Sea Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 170° (fan assisted).
  2. Break up the chocolate and chop the butter into small squares and then melt together in the microwave for a minute (don’t make the mistake of walking away – chocolate burns easily and butter makes a hell of a mess if it boils!).  Stir and then leave to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and sugar, then gradually fold in the chocolate/butter mix, then the flour.  Once combined, stir in the chopped walnuts and mars bar bits.
  4. Grease and line a deep baking tin and pour in the brownie mix.  Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Leave the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares (don’t be tempted to scoop ’em while they’re still warm, and trust me, you will be…), scatter with sea salt, then scoff  🙂

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

I’m an expert on eating brownies, not making them.  I bake a lot, but the humble brownie is something I’d never bothered to try – until recently.  Now I can’t stop making them (luckily I’ve got plenty of test subjects who are more than willing to scoff my experimental batches!).

Mint-Chocolate Chip Brownies

  • 160g butter/margarine
  • 100g sugar
  • 50g drinking chocolate powder (depending on how strong or weak-tasting it is, you may need to vary the amount)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g milk chocolate (melted)
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • powdered sugar
  • 50g chocolate chips

(You’ll probably notice that I’ve left the mint out of the ingredients list – this is because there are a variety of ways you can add it.  You could add mint flavoured drinking chocolate – which is what I did – or you could swap the milk chocolate for a bar of mint chocolate, or you could add as much freshly chopped mint leaves as you like, as well as a few to decorate 🙂 )

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave (carefully – it makes a right mess if you leave it!), and then stir in the sugar.
  2. Stir in the drinking chocolate powder, and then gradually add the eggs.
  3. Melt your chocolate bar in the microwave (again, keep a close eye – burnt chocolate is unpleasant for two reasons: firstly – because it tastes disgusting, and secondly – wasting chocolate should be against the law) and then stir it in (along with the mint flavouring if you haven’t already).
  4. Stir in the flour and baking powder.
  5. Spoon into an open proof dish and cook at 180 for around 15 minutes, or until you see a nice big crack appear across the top.
  6. Decorate with powdered sugar and chopped mint 🙂