Sunday, 14 July 2013

Chocolate brownies

These decadent chocolate brownies have a wonderfully crisp crust, and a deliciously fudgey middle. With very few ingredients they are quick and easy to make, but make for a very impressive dessert - serve them warm with ice cream and, if you're feeling really indulgent, a thick chocolate sauce.

Makes enough to fill a 10inx7.5in pan (roughly 20 brownies)

Gather your equipment
Essential equipment:  Lined baking tin, scales, mixing bowl, cup/glass, fork, mixing spoon
Optional equipment: Sieve, spatula
Gather your ingredients
For this recipe you'll need: 100g dark chocolate, 100g butter, 200g caster sugar, 160g self-raising flour, 2 small eggs
Optional: 50g chopped walnuts/chocolate chips, grated chocolate (for topping)
  • In this recipe I just grated 25g of dark chocolate to spread on top. You could use more, or top with chocolate chips instead.
Prepare to bake
Preheat your oven to 180°C, line your baking tin if you haven’t already, and beat the eggs in a small glass or cup.
Mix flour and sugar
Weigh your flour and sugar in the same bowl – use a sieve if you have one. Stir well, and make sure there are no remaining lumps of sugar or flour.
Melt chocolate and butter
Weigh your butter and chocolate into a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave in short 30-second bursts, stirring each time, until everything is melted together and smooth.
Stir in flour, sugar and eggs
Add the flour/sugar mixture and the beaten eggs at the same time, then stir until everything is just combined – do not over mix.
Bake for 25-30 minutes
Using a spatula if you have one, pour the brownie mix into your prepared tin, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If you prefer ‘spongey’ brownies to ‘fudgey’ ones, you can bake for a little longer.
Optional: cover with melted chocolate
These brownies taste great with a thin layer of chocolate on the top. To get a really thin layer, pour some grated chocolate all over the brownies immediately after taking them out of the oven, then spread slightly as it melts. Alternately, you can just melt some chocolate and pour over the brownies.
Leave to cool, then cut into pieces
Allow the brownie tin to cool for at least one hour before cutting into slices – otherwise they will be a little TOO gooey to cut properly. Leave the brownies on a wire rack to cool completely.

And here they are in all their glory...

Chocolate brownies: - fills a 10x7.5 inch pan
100g dark chocolate
100g butter/margarine
200g caster sugar
160g self-raising flour
2 small eggs, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Melt together the chocolate and butter in the microwave, in short 30-second bursts
  3. Add the sugar, flour and eggs, then mix until smooth (do not overmix)
  4. Pour into a lined tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes
  5. Leave to cool for at least an hour before slicing

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Hummingbird Banana Loaf

This banana loaf is really moist, really sponge-y and not too banana-y. It’s perfect on its own, but you could also add a handful of walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips. It’s a great recipe for many reasons – it’s one way to use up old bananas (the riper they are, the better), it’s really simple to make and it’s even easier to transport. The quantities here would probably fill one large loaf tin but mine are small so I split it into two. 

Makes 2 small banana loaves 

Gather your equipment
Essential equipment:  lined loaf tin, scales, small bowl, big bowl, mixing spoon, smaller spoon, fork, measuring spoons
Optional equipment: electric whisk, spatula
  • Unless you have special cake tin liners, line your tin with greaseproof paper. Sometimes all you need is a rectangular piece of greaseproof paper in the base of the tin, and oil/butter for the sides.
Gather your ingredients
For this recipe you'll need: 270g brown sugar, 2 eggs, 200g peeled bananas, 280g plain flour, 140g butter/margarine and 1tsp each of: cinnamon, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder
Optional: 50-100g chopped walnuts, 75g chocolate chips (or more if you want!)
  • The riper the bananas, the better. I mean it - the kinds of bananas that are absolutely horrible to eat are perfect for this recipe.
Prepare to bake
Preheat oven to 170°C and line your cake tins if you haven’t already. Finely mash your bananas in the bowl, using a fork.
Mix sugar and eggs
Mix the sugar and eggs in the big bowl, using a fork, and making sure all the lumps of brown sugar have been separated. Use an electric whisk if you have one.
Add mashed banana
Stir in the mashed banana; don’t worry if there are still some banana-y lumps.
Melt butter
Melt your butter in the same bowl used for the banana. I do this via short bursts in the microwave, alternatively you could do this in a small saucepan over a gentle heat.
Add flour, spices and raising agents
Add your flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder all at once to the sugar/eggs/banana bowl and stir until incorporated.
Add the melted butter
Immediately add the melted butter and stir in (doesn’t the middle picture just look SO appetising?!).
Spread into your cake tins and bake for 55-60 minutes. When it’s ready it should be firm to the touch, and a skewer/toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave them to cool slightly in the tin, then remove and allow to cool completely before slicing.

And here's one banana loaf all sliced up and ready to go... I finished slicing this one, put it back together and wrapped it in tin foil to bring with me to the office. It went down well! Then again I don't know many people who would turn down free cake.

Hummingbird banana loaf: - fills two small loaf tins
270g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200g peeled bananas, mashed
280g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
140g butter/margarine, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C
  2. Beat together the sugar and eggs. Add the mashed bananas and stir well
  3. Add the flour, spices, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, stir thoroughly
  4. Pour in the melted butter, beat until everything is well incorporated
  5. Pour into lined loaf tins, bake for roughly 1 hour until the cake is firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a while, then turn out

Recipe originally from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook