Every now and then I have these periods where my creativity wanes or shifts focus or finds refuge in some other creative outlet. Sometimes it’s because I want to hone my skill on something I had already tried in the past, sometimes it comes from a deep desire to learn or try out something completely new.
That isn’t to say that I stop illustrating or designing, or messing around with the arts; it just mostly means that my drive to create seems to find other routes to navigate.
So lately I’ve been getting creative in the kitchen.
Obligatory recipe preamble (skip at will)
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not really a huge fan of chocolate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to enjoy a piece or two of good quality chocolate; or a steamy & frothy cup of hot chocolate; or a slice of thick, dense choc mud cake served with a little cream or ice-cream. Who the hell would be stupid enough to turn down something like that? Answer: Not me.
I’m simply saying that I really don’t ever go out looking for it, and when I find it, I don’t indulge to excess; you could say I simply dabble. I know many other people whose desire for chocolate far outweighs my own; indeed many who would put me to shame really.
Because of this, I normally give most of what I make away to family, friends, or neighbours and keep a small amount for myself. This way, everybody wins.
With that small caveat out of the way, I’ve been really getting into choc-fudge brownies. Biting into a piece of warm, sweet, fudgy chocolate brownie is really quite a uniqe experience. Warmed and paired with a little cream or ice-cream and you’ve got yourself a delicious trip to dessert heaven.
Because I enjoy the flavour of savoury foods more than those that are simply sweet, my brownies tend to use a little extra salt. I think it adds extra dimension & depth which really broadens out the flavour profile. For example, you might say you enjoy Caramel, but tell me you could turn down good Salted Caramel… there’s just no competition!
A note on Chocolate
I normally use chocolate with 70-80% cocoa for a deeper flavour but, you can use whatever chocolate you have on hand. I’ve used regular milk flavoured chocolate on occasion, and even some of the flavoured stuff too (caramel flavour, I think) and it always comes out great.
But enough jibber-jabber! Let’s get to the recipe.
Salty Choc-Fudge Brownies Recipe
|Granulated White or Brown Sugar
Note: The process may differ if you’re using a food processor or stand mixer as opposed to a handheld one. A stand mixer gives you time to do other things while it’s mixing on its own. So When using a handheld mixer I may prefer to chop and prepare my dry ingredients mix prior to beginning the butter & sugar mix, just to make sure this mix doesn’t get too cold and hard, as it makes it harder to pour later on.
- Start by preheating your oven to 180°C, gathering your ingredients, roughly chopping up your chocolate & walnuts, and melting the butter.
- Mix the butter and sugar together in your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl until combined & smooth.
- Add the vanilla essence & eggs.
- Mix the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and chocolate) together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Spoon dry ingredients into the mix making sure each spoon is well absorbed & combined before adding the next.
- If necessary run a spatula along the sides of the bowl to integrate any dry ingredients that have stuck to the sides.
- Remove and clean off the excess batter from the beater attachments. I suggest giving these to your kids, or taking a small break to enjoy them yourself.
- Add the chopped walnuts, and/or chocolate chips and mix lightly with a spatula or spoon.
- Pour the batter into a greased or lined brownie pan. I use greasepaper cut and folded at the corners to fit my pan as it helps keep the pan relatively clean.
- Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. I like to set my oven for 25 minutes, then I check it with a skewer. If the skewer comes out “wet” or stained with batter I set it for extra 5 minute increments until the skewer comes out dry. Be super careful not to go too far and burn them; the sugars can be very temperamental and can turn to carbon in seconds at this stage. Just use your eyes, nose and best judgment.
- When it’s ready, remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. A minimum of 10 minutes for the impatient among us.
- When it’s cool enough, slice that sucker up and enjoy!
One Final Word
This recipe is great for someone like me; I love to tinker and change things around a little here and there to try to get a better taste (…or if I sometimes forget something. ). You could also say it’s very forgiving.
I’ve tried adding a more chocolate, chocolate chips, using salted caramel flavoured chocolate (as mentioned earlier), using brown sugar, varied the amount of salt, left the walnuts out, I even forgot to buy eggs one time so resorted to using yogurt instead (which is apparently a suggested egg alternative) and although it added a little extra tang, the brownies were still delicious. Oh, and I even added some fresh chillies to one batch, for a fantastically spicy kick, which was a surprisingly awesome treat.
I plan still to try adding butterscotch and/or honeycomb, using sea salt crystals, and perhaps topping them with my niece’s amazing salted caramel sauce. So go nuts and feel free to experiment with your own flavour combinations!
If you do try out this recipe, feel free to let me know how you go. I’d love to hear your experiences.