The richer a brownie is, the better it tastes. Most people would far rather have a fat finger of something truly decadent than a large square of what is often just a squidgy chocolate cake studded with nuts.
Over the years I’ve made all sorts of variations with cheesecake, peanut butter, blondies – you name it and I’ve probably tried it. But this is one of my friends’ all-time favourite brownie recipes: dark, rich, fudge-like. It’s not for the faint-hearted! I typically serve them as part of an afternoon tea or as a tempting sweet mouthful to conclude a drinks party or as an after-dinner petit four.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3 (325°F/300°F fan).
2. Grease the base and sides of a baking tin. I typically use a disposable tin-foil one measuring 18cm x 23cm x 5cm (6” x 9” x 2″) – they’re great for storing the brownies in the freezer – which I line with a couple of strips of greaseproof paper to make it easier to remove them. In addition, I find it’s an easy size and shape to slice into fingers for serving. This mixture fills two cake tins.
3. Melt together the chocolate and butter either in the microwave on a medium setting or in a glass bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (bain-marie).
4. Put the mascarpone in a mixing bowl and whisk to lighten, then add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Next combine the sugar and then the egg yolks, the whole eggs and the vanilla extract.
5. Now lightly fold in the sifted flour and coffee with a spatula.
6. Pour the mixture into the two baking tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top of the cake should be crinkly and a skewer inserted in the centre should have some mixture clinging to it.
7. Let the brownies cool in the tins and then refrigerate to firm up before cutting. Because of the fat content, I keep the brownies in the fridge for a week – providing they’re well hidden – equally, they’ll happily sit in the freezer for a month or two.
1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.
2. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the brownies in the oven, put the timer on for 5-10 minutes less than they should take to cook and then check regularly.
3. If you don’t like your brownies to be this dark, substitute a chocolate with a lower percentage of chocolate.
4. I have made them with walnuts but I think they’re better without. These brownies are so rich that they need no further adornment.