Best Dessert Brownies Ever -FACT!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Wednesday, I hope your week is treating you well. If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that I am on a personal crusade to make sure that Little L feels culturally comfortable living in the US. For those of you who don’t know, she is a dual US and UK citizen, but born and raised here in America. With Mr L and myself both being fully fledged Brits, freckles and all, I wanted to ensure that I didn’t make Little L feel ostracized by cultural differences. Now I say this very tongue in cheek, we are different, as George Bernard Shaw said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” I can do little to change this, and as her teacher has already pointed out, Little L has informed her classmates that we “play in the garden, not outside” lol. One way I am trying to become a more American mom (please note spelling for emphasis of point) is trying to learn some popular local dishes. Mr L would say that I have the pulled pork and ribs down (please let me know if these are recipes you would like me to share on the blog.)  I can’t say that I will ever be one to cook macaroni and cheese or pb and jelly (no, neither of these are popular UK dishes much to the surprise of my US mom friends.) I do however wish to become a connoisseur of the brownie. You may know that a while back I wrote this post, The best brownie ever challenge.  I stand by these brownies – they are remarkably good – but not one to become complacent in my pursuit of perfection, I have discovered another recipe which I think is outstanding.

A blogger I follow TheAnnaEdit mentioned her favorite recipe by Anna Jones called Salted Caramel Brownies (no you don’t have to be called Anna to make these.)  I love salted caramel and, with friends coming for dinner, I had the perfect excuse to give them a try. Now like The Anna Edit, I cheated and bought caramel sauce: I used Trader Joe’s Caramel Sauce and it worked a treat.

Ingredients

150g 70% dark chocolate

150g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar (If you find caster sugar hard to find in US, use regular sugar but blitz in a food processor first to get the correct consistency. This I have found to work well – LL top tip.)

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

100g plain flour.

Method

Heat oven to 180C or 365F.

Grease and line a brownie tin approximately 20x20cm.

Place a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (make sure bowl bottom does not hit the water! That’s important!)

Add chocolate and butter to bowl and allow to melt stirring together so as not to burn.

Once they have melted and combined together, remove bowl from heat.

Stir in sugar (be careful the mix is hot.)

Then add the eggs one at a time, stirring throughout.

After well combined, add the vanilla essence and flour.

Stir until mixture is well combined.

This is where I did not follow the exact instructions and being pushed for time followed The Anna Edit method.

Place mixture in prepared tin.

Then take your bought caramel sauce and spoon several teaspoons into the prepared mixture, I used about 5 oz.

Then use a wooden skewer to feather the caramel through the mixture so it leaves a pretty pattern on the top.

If you like salted caramel, grind a little sea salt on top.

Place in oven on middle shelf for about 25mins.

It will be done when a crust appears on the top (mine took about 30 mins.)

Then take out of oven and let Brownies cool.

I made these in the morning, and reheated in the evening. Ladies and Gents these brownies were to die for. I would say they are more a dessert brownie, especially heated, because as you cut into them out oozes golden caramel. The amount I added was about right because they didn’t become too rich and the fact they are made with dark chocolate doesn’t make them too sweet. They are delicious served warm with homemade vanilla ice-cream (future post.) They are also a marvelous hangover cure but that is another story.

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on Anna Jones’ cookbook “A Modern Way to Eat” (highly recommended), you will note that she provides alternative/healthier ways to prepare the brownies which I want to try. Who is with me? She also gives you details on how to make the caramel yourself which I want to attempt next time. However, if you are stuck for time or baking is not your thing, this method was outstanding. Best dessert brownies I have ever had and my guests agreed. I am well on the way to doing Little L proud on the brownie stakes, it is muffins next! (A mummy’s work is never done!) So my previous post The best brownie ever challenge  produces the best brownies for everyday baked goods and these brownies are best for dessert!

Enjoy the rest of your week folks. Have you tried this recipe before? Have I inspired you to try? If so send me a pic! I would love to see them.

Ta Ta for now

TLL x

 

Happy Easter – Making Memories

Howdy Y’all,

Happy hump day! Hope you are all doing well. It is Easter week which I can not really get my head around as it is so early. I feel it has crept upon me, that might be because I have my brain full of other things. If you have been following the blog for a while you will know that I can be a  bit sanctimonious about making memories. I am not sure if it is  because I live far away from family or I am simply a traditionalist but I want to create traditions and memories that Little L can carry into adulthood. I am not sure if it is a British thing but every Easter particularly when I was small I remember making egg nests, this is a very easy tradition I wanted to pass onto Little L. We love to bake, Little L and I. Tbh many of the recipes we have tried to date have relied on me being a hawk eye, mainly because they contain eggs and Little L has a wonderful habit of trying the recipe at every stage. (Although I grew up licking the bowl of raw cake batter which contained eggs and have lived to tell the tale- just!) This recipe contains none of those challenges and is so easy I followed no recipe just created by eye.

Ingredients

Chocolate, I used two bars, one milk and one white, mainly because that is what I had and like.

Butter, about two tablespoons.

Syrup, if in UK you could use golden syrup if in US I used Blue Agave.

Cereal, I used frosted flakes, you could use rice crispies, whatever you and your littlie like.

Cupcake cases, roughly a dozen.

Mini Eggs, tis the season and they are yummy.

Method

Brake the chocolate into small pieces, I let Little L do this in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin. (She was in heaven.)

Place the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a saucepan and let it simmer and melt. (Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the top of the water.)

While the chocolate is melting, place the cereal in a separate bowl, I measured by eye. You want enough cereal so that chocolate covers it when mixed. I don’t like the mix too rich so I added a little more cereal.

I then told Little L that the most important part of the recipe was to mix the cereal with a spoon continually, this is a great way to keep them busy and if a sneaky hand peeks in for a taste, what trouble can they get in to?

Once the chocolate mixture is melted, I added about one tablespoon of syrup, this helps the mixture stick. I then mixed.

While the syrup is warming in the mixture I asked Little L to place twelve cupcake cases into a muffin tin. (Great way to test number skills!)

Once the syrup/choc mix is well combined, remove bowl from heat and pour into cereal mix. Obviously this requires an adult but once the mix is added Little L loved mixing.

Once well mixed, you then spoon the mixture into the cases, pressing down hard, if possible press harder in the center so the sides are slightly raised (like a nest.) Then place three mini eggs in the center. Your littlie may insist on spoon licking.

Then place the tray into the fridge for about 20 mins. The trick is to get the tray into the fridge before your littlie gobbles all the mini eggs.

After twenty minutes, serve and enjoy. They look so cute and kids love them.

 

chopped choc
Preparing the chocolate, the self-discipline required not to nibble I don’t have – sorry!
Head Chef
The head chef – she is a hard task master
Melting
Choc and butter melting
Melting pot
Side profile
Preping the nests
Head Chef skillful mixing
Yummy mix
Personally I don’t like the mixture too chocolaty because it can be a little rich. This for us was perfect.
Tasting
Essential taste testing
Nests
Product pre eggs and fridge
Yummy
The final result – so cute

Final

Happy Easter
Got to love Target and their Easter décor
Love Her
Call me a proud sous chef, but how cute is my head chef? Plus who wouldn’t want to make memories with a happy smiling face like that?

This is such a simple but fun afternoon activity why not give it a try?

From the Lifestyle household to yours, Happy Easter!

Ta ta for now.

TLL x

Best Brownies Ever Challenge!!!

imageHowdy Y’all,

Happy hump day! Who needs a pick-me-up to see them through till Friday? I feel I do this week in particular, after Super Tuesday I think we could all do with a sugary treat. (Who is with me?) I am well aware that I am raising an American daughter and although we try to help her identify with her British culture I do try to learn more about American culture.  One thing I am trying to do is find a recipe to bake the perfect brownie. When home at Christmas a dear friend of ours had us over for lunch and she had the children help make the dessert of brownies and the recipe was called the Best-ever brownies. Could this be the recipe to end all recipe’s which would mean I could serve them to my American friends.  Here is what happened :- 

Prep Notes

  • It was in this post where I made delicious Moroccan Orange cake that I wrote about one of my top tips in making caster sugar, it does make a difference to the texture of the bake.
  • It was when making my famous carrot cake that I wrote about using a whisk instead of a sieve, it makes much less mess!!!
  •  I did not have a 20cm square tin, my tin was nearer 23cm and I rounded up the ingredients but it still worked. If I was looking into investing in a brownie tin – any recommendations?
  • I also did not quite enough dark chocolate so I substituted the difference for white chocolate.

Ingredients 

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g best dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 3 large egg
  • 275g golden caster sugar Cut 185g unsalted butter into smallish cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break 185g best dark chocolate into small pieces and drop into the bowl. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally to mix them. Now remove the bowl from the pan. Alternatively, cover the bowl loosely with cling film and put in the microwave for 2 minutes on High. Leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature.
  1. While you wait for the chocolate to cool, position a shelf in the middle of your oven and turn the oven on to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4 (most ovens take 10-15 minutes to heat up). Using a shallow 20cm square tin, cut out a square of non-stick baking parchment to line the base. Now tip 85g plain flour and 40g cocoa powder into a sieve held over a medium bowl, and tap and shake the sieve so they run through together and you get rid of any lumps.
  2. With a large sharp knife, chop 50g white chocolate and 50g milk chocolate into chunks on a board. The slabs of chocolate will be quite hard, so the safest way to do this is to hold the knife over the chocolate and press the tip down on the board, then bring the rest of the blade down across the chocolate. Keep on doing this, moving the knife across the chocolate to chop it into pieces, then turn the board round 90 degrees and again work across the chocolate so you end up with rough squares.
  3. Break 3 large eggs into a large bowl and tip in 275g golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take 3-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your mixer is, so don’t lose heart. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume. Another check is to turn off the mixer, lift out the beaters and wiggle them from side to side. If the mixture that runs off the beaters leaves a trail on the surface of the mixture in the bowl for a second or two, you’re there.
  4. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a rubber spatula. Plunge the spatula in at one side, take it underneath and bring it up the opposite side and in again at the middle. Continue going under and over in a figure of eight, moving the bowl round after each folding so you can get at it from all sides, until the two mixtures are one and the colour is a mottled dark brown. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like – you don’t want to undo all the work you did in step 4.
  5. Hold the sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and resift the cocoa and flour mixture, shaking the sieve from side to side, to cover the top evenly. Gently fold in this powder using the same figure of eight action as before. The mixture will look dry and dusty at first, and a bit unpromising, but if you keep going very gently and patiently, it will end up looking gungy and fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don’t want to overdo this mixing. Finally, stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks until they’re dotted throughout. Now your mixing is done and the oven can take over.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping every bit out of the bowl with the spatula. Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and paddle the spatula from side to side across the top to level it. Put in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the buzzer goes, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Take out of the oven.
  7. Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold, then, if you’re using the brownie tin, lift up the protruding rim slightly and slide the uncut brownie out on its base. If you’re using a normal tin, lift out the brownie with the foil. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares and finally into triangles. These brownies are so addictive you’ll want to make a second batch before the first is finished, but if you want to make some to hide away for a special occasion, it’s useful to know that they’ll keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.
Ingredients
The amount of ingredients required is relatively few.
Caster Sugar
TLL quick spin of turning regular sugar into caster sugar
cjoc
The smaller the lumps of butter and chocolate the quicker it is to melt.
melting choc
Melting- smells so yummy
MeltChoc
All melted and so glossy
Sugarandeggs
This is the sugar and eggs after 7 mins on high in my Kitchen Aid mixer
ChoppedChoc
So hard to resist a little nibble! I love white chocolate
Sieve
Another LL top tip using a whisk instead of a sieve
Mix
Adding the melted choc to the aired mixture, such a marbled beauty
Folding In
I used the figure of eight method as I did not want to loose air in the mixture, it took a while to mix in but it does come together I promise
Before Oven
The finished mixture so pretty and glossy
Yummy
The finished brownie served warm with ice-cream. Is there another way??
Tastetester
My cute chief taste tester giving her verdict, what is she thinking?

I think this recipe was a real hit, the brownies are simply delicious. Gooey and fudgy on the inside and crisp and hard on the outside. I loved them and served warm with yummy ice cream. How do you like yours? I urge you to give this a try they are well worth it. I now need to test on an American audience for verdicts. Who wants to volunteer?

Ta ta for now,

TLLx