Don’t give me a plain brownie when you know the rainbow variations it is obliged to take on any time of the day, month, year… yes go on, go on.
So I was eating Strawberry Haagen Dazs in my room and well, you know those bits of frozen strawberry? Yes well, I can’t resist them. Wait a minute. Strawberries. Jam. Baking urge. I needed to comprehend my own absurd wants whilst being weighed down by post-school exhaustion.
I saw this recipe for brownies swirled and glistening with raspberry jam and decided to put a mini itty bitty wicky butty twist on it.
Cinnamon and nutmeg and a little cream. Oh and add a touch of textured, clunky marmalade from the orange Gods. Those were all the changes and that was it. But I want to revel in the pure divinity that is therapeutic baking on a Tuesday afternoon after school, with a history essay on cue and Hitler parading his lovely square mustache on the side, hands up, chest out and all. The tiredness was overwhelming, my lids needed a break from being opened up to the world.
I had to bake. I needed to bake. I needed to feel the flushed rigour of precision and sweet chemistry (yes, this is very very literal.)
So. Here’s what the English call a recipe.
What you need for these diddlyumptious cuboids (or cubes, whatever works for the geometrical purists):
– 150g 70% dark chocolate
– 115g unsalted butter, in chunks
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– half cup white sugar
– half cup brown sugar
– 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon double cream
– 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract (not essence, no no)
– 2 eggs and 1 yolk
– 3/4 cup plain white flour
– half teaspoon salt
– 16 teaspoons of raspberry/blueberry/ whateverfloatsyourboat jam, or a fruit-and-sugar compote which you don’t mind atop pancakes or waffles. Though more on the thick and glutinous side. Now I’m not saying to physically and painstakingly measure out 16 teaspoons beforehand. Oh please don’t die in the kitchen. You can do this after the batter is made, when you drop 16 teaspoons of jam in little 4×4 rows on top. Plain and simple and no dying.
I love baking brownies. I really do. And talk about a one-bowl job.
What to actually do for these diddlyumptious brownies:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and grease plus line a square 8-inch baking tin.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain-marie, which is really just a fancy way of saying dump the globs of black and yellow into a heatproof bowl and melt over simmering (not boiling) water.
3. Remove from heat and whisk in both sugars and cocoa powder.
4. Mix in eggs and yolk, vanilla extract and cream.
5. With a spatula or wooden spoon, add flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix until well combined and take a minute to gape at the gloopy, glossy consistency.
6. Pour into pan and drool a little more. Have any of you watched the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The introduction is practically dedicated to chocolate porn in all its pours and drop layerings. Pretty spectacular. That Wonka was quite something.
7. With a piping bag or teaspoon (despite the desire for excruciating perfection, I still reverted to the latter), put 16 dollops of jam on top of the batter.
8. With a knife, PLAY. Swirl it around and about the batter until you get what should resemble decadent, ornate swirls fit to look part of King Henry’s grand staircase. It may look unkindly messy at this point, but don’t give up hope. The swirls show up in the most gorgeous manner possible in the oven after the batter lightens and gains crusts and steeps and crevices in all the right places.
9. Bake for 25 minutes on the dot. No more and no less. Well, unless you have a peculiar oven of course. In that case you have a little more flexibility with time. It’s typically 25-27 minutes. There I offered some room.
I was satisfied and I was done, and I went up to my room to watch Daniel Craig in The Trench for some bloody ear shots and spilling guts. Chocolate Fingers smiled up at me.
I beg you to all make this, or at least try.
For warmth in the oven and in the heart.