I’m aware of the perils of too much sugar. Although far from evangelical about it I do my best to limit the amount of sugar I eat and, on balance, I’m happy with my diet. It’s easy to forget that food is more than fuel, it is a fundamental source of joy in our lives, it is a connector and it isn’t always bad for it to be a reward or a comfort. There is a line between destructive eating and food which, in moderation, actually makes us feel better about ourselves. To that end, this weekend, I made the most expensive chocolate brownies I’ve ever made, because I’m worth it.
A good chocolate brownie takes some beating but bad one is disappointment on a grand scale so I knew that fiddling about with my tried and tested recipe was a risk. Adding pressure to an already delicate operation I experimented with two ingredients which pushed the cost per brownie up into high end bakery territory. Fortunately I emerged with a high end brownie.
At Christmas I bought a bad of chestnut flour and, if you’ve ever come across it, you will know that the price of it is enough to suggest that each chestnut is lovingly roasted on a tiny open fire and then ground by hand in a diamond encrusted pestle and mortar by leprechauns. Wanting to make the most of this beige powdery nectar I wondered if substituting the normal plain flour might give a welcome nutty depth. Then a couple of weeks ago searching for dried cherries to make some granola I found a pack in the health food shop. Foolishly I didn’t bother checking the price until I arrived home only to find that could have virtually bought my own cherry tree with the money I’d spend on the delicate deep red jewels. No matter, a sour cherry in a chocolate brownie sounds insanely good, and it is.
Here’s my recipe. If you don’t have chestnut flour sub for plain flour, and if you don’t have sour cherries just leave them out. It might be extravagant, and it’s true that they are full of sugar, but once in a while it’s OK. After all, we’re worth it aren’t we?
Expensive Chocolate Brownies
250g Dark Chocolate (70%ish cocoa)
250g Unsalted Butter
300g Caster Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
4 Large Eggs, beaten
60g Chestnut Flour
60g Cocoa Powder
Handful of sour cherries
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
Beat the butter and sugar until it is pale and soft
Add the beaten egg little by little to the butter and sugar (don’t worry if it curdles) beating well between additions.
When the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and mix into the butter and egg mixture.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Fold with a metal spoon, and then fold in the cherries
When well combined put into a lined brownie tin or baking dish around 20cm square or similar.
Cook for 30 minutes and then test by poking a skewer into the middle of the brownies. If it comes out covered in liquid mixture give them another two or three minutes, but keep checking. When the skewer has some mixture on it but emerges relatively clean they’re done.
Leave to cool before you attempt to cut them.
Have one, or two, with a big mug of tea.