I was introduced to brownies by my American biology teacher in high school, and I've not looked back since! Unfortunately I lost her recipe, but a couple of years ago I found this one from Martha Stewart which is fantastic. I've just tweaked it here and there. The kids love them, and depending on how big you like your brownies, and how you chop them up, I get about 20 in a batch. If you're doing them for adults, as a decadent dessert with cream, ice-cream, and maybe a raspberry coulis, then by all means use a really dark chocolate slab, and add a teaspoon of expresso ground coffee to your batter to make it extra strong. The coffee just highlights the chocolate flavour a bit more! For kids, you can add marshmallow pieces, chocolate drops, or even M&M's. So delicious, tried and tested many times, no fail recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
200g coarsely chopped good-quality semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a buttered 20cm square baking pan with foil or wax paper, allowing 5cm to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; (or, like I do, in the microwave for 2/3 minutes), until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely before cutting into squares.

All you need, plus butter!

(SOURCE: MARTHA STEWART LIVING, FEBRUARY 2004)

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