Chocolate brownies

Brownies, that great American invention, are soft and delicious, and the perfect partner for a main dish.

To make a batch of brownies, you will need:

  • 100g shelled macadamia nuts
  • 125g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 60ml freshly brewed espresso coffee
  • 30ml brandy
  • 175g flour
  • 250g castor sugar
  • 5g baking powder
  • Generous pinch of salt

Let us begin. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Next, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and castor sugar into a smooth paste. Separate the yolk of one egg, then add the yolk plus two whole eggs to the mixture. Do this slowly, one egg at a time, with the mixer running to make an emulsion.

Add the melted chocolate, the espresso and the brandy. If espresso is not available, use a plunger or French press to make strong coffee from fresh grounds. Instant coffee won’t work. Mix well at low revs. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture.

Using a spatula, continue mixing by hand. This is to avoid adding too much air to the mixture. Unlike most cakes, brownies are dense and moist. Too much air in the mix means losing these essential qualities.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the interior of a standard 23cm-baking tin with aluminium foil. Pour in the mixture. Scatter the macadamia nuts evenly over the surface. Place the full baking tin into the centre of the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. Use a skewer to test if the process is complete. A few crumbs should adhere.

Because brownies are meant to be moist, it’s better to marginally under-bake than over-bake them.

Let the finished product cool in the baking tin, then cut it into generous squares sprinkled with castor sugar. At this point, you have three options: serve these splendid chocolate confections with good coffee; dish them up with a spoonful of ultra-cold vanilla ice cream, or enjoy them with your favourite fruits.