It's a big claim, saying you make the best brownies ever, but I do. At least, that's what various sets of workmates in two hemispheres have told me when I've turned up with these little beauties at Christmas time.
There's something about these particular brownies that makes everyone go all sort of dreamy and dazed and happy. Then they tell you how amazing you are, so everyone's a winner!
This recipe, which came from my mum, is especially dedicated to my dear former colleague Andy, a talented writer and a brilliant cook who has impeccable taste in music and makes the best cups of tea in the world. Andy, I've promised you this recipe for years - now, here it is. Merry Christmas!
The trick with brownies is to undercook them ever so slightly. They should be wobbly in the middle (like Santa) but set around the edges. My trick is to freeze them when they've cooled - eliminates any fears about them being too runny and ensures a fudgy texture. This recipe makes LOTS so it's ideal when you have a lot of brownie lovers to pamper.
450g dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa solids)
1tsp vanilla essence
2Tbsp instant coffee (powder)
2 cups caster sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups cashew nuts (roasted and salted or not, as you prefer)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a large baking dish - like a roasting dish - or several brownie pans.
Put the chocolate, butter, vanilla and coffee into a large saucepan. Melt over gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature, then add the sugar. Mix well, then whisk in the eggs. Lastly, fold in the flour and nuts. Pour into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes (check earlier if you are using small pans), until the edges are firm to touch but the middle is still soft. Let cool in the pan. Turn out carefully, then wrap well in cling film or foil, then put in the freezer. If you're taking them to work for morning tea, take them out of the freezer just before you go. They thaw quickly (and taste fabulous frozen!). Pile them onto a platter and shower with icing sugar. Add strawberries if seasonally appropriate and serve with love.
Do you have a special end of the week - or working year - treat? Add a link to it here and spread the sweetness of Fridays...