One of the things I love about blogging is that it's broadened the scope of things to worry about when I'm awake in the middle of the night. Now, instead of fretting about work I haven't done, bills I haven't paid or the looming spectre of a big fat mortgage, I can lie there wondering how I'm going to think up a post to write. A couple of days ago I realised, when awake in the dark and quiet pre-dawn, that of all the things I could be tossing and turning over, my main concern was November's We Should Cocoa challenge, in which we have to make something involving apple and chocolate. The good news is that a couple of mornings later I woke up and the following idea came to me like a vision. I might start worrying about the Lotto numbers next...
This might sound like an unlikely combination, but if you think about it, apples and butter are natural partners (and white chocolate is surely a close cousin of butter, don't you think?) I threw in some cranberries because they seemed seasonally appropriate (to Christmas, that is, not the southern hemisphere spring), but you can leave them out if you like.
Frankie readers: this is a sort of appled-up version of the pumpkin and ginger brownies y'all went mad for in issue 40.
250g stewed apple (or unsweetened applesauce) - if you're making this from scratch you'll need about 3 or 4 apples - see below for details
250g butter, diced
250g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
250g caster sugar
150g flour (plain white or gluten-free or spelt, depending on your cupboards)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
First, cook the stewed apple. Peel and core the apples, then slice and put in a small pot with about 1/4 cup water. Cook, covered, over medium heat until the apples are soft enough to mash to a smooth puree. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a brownie pan (I use a tin about 30cm x 20cm).
Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and melt gently by putting it into the warming oven. Keep an eye on it - it will take five to 10 minutes. This is a stress free, energy-efficient way of melting chocolate without having to worry about double boilers and the like.
Let it cool slightly to room temperature.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until combined and thick, then beat in the cooled chocolate and butter. Add the apple and stir to combine. Sift over the flour, baking powder, salt and spice, then fold in gently.Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-35 minutes. Timing is everything with brownies - you want them firm at the edges but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Leave them in the tin to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Cut into bars or squares as you see fit. Makes lots, freezes brilliantly (and tastes AMAZING frozen).
Have a sweet, sweet weekend, everyone. I'm hoping to make our Christmas cake, do some packing and have an afternoon nap or two (not necessarily in that order). What about you?