Posted in Sweet Treats

The Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

Where do I start with these. These are my favourite thing to bake. If you ask anyone I know what their favourite thing that I bake, they’ll say these. And I agree. Again, I might be bias – but they’re bloody good brownies. And there’s a story behind them.

As a child, I loved baking – I used to bake butterfly cakes and chocolate fork biscuits from my Mum’s Mary Berry cookbook. Absolute classics. And then I got my first ‘Children’s Cookbook’ and I’m pretty sure, I only ever used it for one recipe – brownies.

It got to the point where I didn’t need the recipe and I didn’t need the scales – I could just chuck everything in and they’d turn out rich, gooey, fudgy delights.

Paul Hollywood used to live in the village where I grew up & the village church were hosting a fundraiser for a new roof – he got stuck in and helped raise some money; giving a talk about his career and the secrets of GBBO (v.interesting!) and holding a bake off in the village hall with the one and only, Mary Berry. Obviously I had to enter.

I grew up in a small village – everyone knew everyone, but nothing really ever happened. Having Paul Hollywood as a resident, was as exciting as it got. So our expectations of the bake off were low – maybe a handful of people would enter? But then they announced the prize was a Kitchen Aid. Then it stepped up a notch. My sister became my competition with her famous carrot cake (a recipe for another day) and I got going with my brownies.

It turned out being a lot more popular than we’d expected – and my little cake tin of brownies looked very out of place next to a table full of beautifully decorated tiered cakes – someone had recreated Will & Kate’s wedding cake with a picture of them drawn on the top tier….. I was way out of my league..

They’d only been able to get a 1st & 2nd place prize donated so there was no 3rd place – but I was awarded a signed certificate from Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood to say that if there had of been a 3rd place, my brownies would have had it! When 1st place went to Will & Kate’s wedding cake….I’ll take that.

I want it framed and given centre stage in our kitchen, but Mike’s not so sure….

I guess I should stop rambling and give you all the recipe, right? There’s been a few changes over the years and I’m pretty sure I’d get at least 2nd place now… Enjoy!

Ingredients:

200g Dark Choc (Ideally above 70% cocoa)

150g unsalted butter

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

300g light brown sugar (If you have – a mix of dark & light works a dream!)

100g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp of cocoa powder

Pinch salt

100g white chocolate / nuts / whatever your preference!

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line a square tin
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl and leave to cool slightly
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together and add the sugar & vanilla extract – whisk for a couple of minutes until fluffy and lighter in colour
  4. Then, fold in the chocolate mix and gently fold until well combined.
  5. Next, sift in the dry ingredients and add the chocolate chunks (adding the chocolate with the dry ingredients prevents them from sinking to the bottom) and fold until all the flour is incorporated
  6. Pour into the tin and pop in the oven for 22minutes
  7. When the time is up – they should still wobble in the middle, so don’t be afraid to take them out. Trust me! You don’t want to overcook them
  8. Now for the patience – I know, it’s hard when it comes to brownies. Leave them in the tin until they’re completely cool and then pop them in the fridge overnight – DO NOT TAKE THEM OUT THE TIN. This is the secret to the fudgy middle without them loosing their shape.
  9. The following day – remove from tin & slice into squares!

ps. No normal person can wait until the next day for their brownies – I’m guilty of taking a spoonful of the gooey mix straight from the oven and having it with ice cream and then if I still can’t wait I’ll pop them in the freezer!

Posted in Sweet Treats

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s all about the crunchy edge and soft chewy centre for me with a cookie. Growing up, I used to go to Bluewater shopping centre on the National Express with friends and the highlight would always be that my mum wasn’t there to stop me buying the biggest box of Millies Cookies. I LOVED them. And however many recipes I tried, nothing compared. Until now.

Trust me. These are everything you want in a cookie.

For these I’ve used a mix of white & milk chocolate chunks and all butter fudge chunks from M&S – they’re to die for, and make a great addition to these cookies! You can add in your favourite sweet treats, or even some dried fruits (although I’ll judge anyone who skips on the chocolate)! If you want to make triple chocolate cookies – try substituting 40g of flour for cocoa powder!

These cookies taste better and better the longer the dough has to set – ideally they need overnight in the fridge, but come on, who wants to wait that long for cookies?! I tend to put enough dough for a few cookies in the freezer for half an hour and the rest in the fridge. That way we can have some the day you make the dough, and the rest the next! It also freezes really well so you can roll the dough into the balls and freeze and have cookies whenever you want them!

Ingredients:

280g plain flour

1 heaped tsp cornflour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

250g sugar (100g granulated sugar + 150g soft brown sugar)

1 egg + 1 yolk

180g butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g chocolate chunks (or whatever you prefer!)

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Start by melting the butter in a bowl and leaving to cool slightly before beating in the sugar and vanilla extract
  2. Then mix in the egg & extra yolk and ensure it’s well combined
  3. Fold in all the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chunks
  4. Then – the hard bit. Leave your cookie dough in the fridge for as long as possible.
  5. When ready to bake – preheat your oven to 175C and line a flat tray with parchment paper. I always do it one batch at a time (6 cookies) just so I can watch them carefully to make sure they don’t overcook.
  6. Roll your dough into balls – I use an ice cream scoop and position them on the tray – DO NOT FLATTEN THEM DOWN and pop them in the oven!
  7. They’ll need anywhere from 8-11 minutes depending on how cold the dough is – I go more on the colour. Take them out when they’ve gone slightly golden on the edges – you want them to to look undercooked in the middle. Then leave them to cool on the tray before taking them off.