Yesterday was a chocolate day. I came home from work feeling tired, cold and somewhat bruised, figuratively and literally (walking into desks is a professional hazard for a clumsy teacher). Sometimes, chocolate is the only thing that will comfort and soothe. I could have just raided the chocolate bar stash but I find pottering in the kitchen calms my mind and some light work in the kitchen was a welcome distraction from my aching feet. I had also volunteered to make some cakes for a charity coffee morning. Brownies are the simplest of baked goods and on a chocolate day the melting gooeyness of a brownie is an added salve. What's more they're a speedy solution to volume baking and need only a sprinkling of icing sugar as an adornment.
Most often, I am a brownie purist; all chocolate, no nuts or flavourings. However, on occasion, I am tempted by a subtle citrus note. This often happens around Christmas time, recreating the nostalgia of a Terry's Chocolate Orange. The urge came on a little early this year.
These brownies never last long in our house but if your household can demonstrate more dietary restraint than ours, these brownies will last for a couple of days in a tin. Enjoy, V.
Enough for a 20cm square tin
2 medium sized oranges
200g. dark chocolate
200g caster sugar
100g. plain flour
Put the two oranges into a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 1 hour. Allow them to cool and blitz in a food processor. Then, push the puréed orange through a sieve to remove the seeds and lumps.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a saucepan melt the butter and chocolate on a low heat, stir gently to combine. Allow to cool a little whilst you prepare the tin, lining it with tin foil or baking parchment.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together until the mixture is pale and airy. Fold in the orange mixture, then the chocolate mixture and finally the flour.
Pour into your tin and bake for about 40 minutes. I start checking it for readiness at about 30 minutes; I like my brownies underdone and gooey, so I am looking for the dull, crackled brownie top but with a hint of wobble still in the very middle when I press it. If you prefer a more cake-like texture, cook for an extra 10 minutes, you want the middle to be firm when gently pressed. Delicious with a glass of cold milk or a milky coffee.