Sunday, 3 July 2011

52 recipe challenge - week 1.

Do you ever start cooking and realise that you're making the exact same meals you made the week before? Or do you open your cookbooks to find that they fall open to those ever used same old recipe you make month in month out? If you do, you're in the same position as me!

I have 17 cook books in my kitchen and numerous print-outs of recipes, yet only the same four cook books seem to get used.  After lots of: “lets try new recipes” conversations.... I decided this wasn’t going to happen until I made it a challenge, so the idea of the 52 recipe challenge will be a challenge to try a new to me recipe every week for the next year and blog about the results.

Week one’s challenge was the Chocolate Brownies recipe I acquired from my friend Gemma.  I asked for it  after she gave me a few of her batch of these lovely brownies, as I got addicted and ate 10 or 12!

To make the brownies you need the following:

100g butter or butter substitute, chopped.
200g chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
250g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g cocoa powder

Plus any extra chocolate for melting on top or extras to sprinkle on it like chocolate chips or fudge chunks.

The recipe starts by telling you to pre heat the oven to 160c or gas mark 4 and then to line the tin which you will be using.

Then you melt the butter and chocolate together either in the microwave or in a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water, once they are melted together put them on the side and whilst you add the eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl.

It says whisk until the mix is light and fluffy but I just whisked until my arms ached... Once this is done the chocolate and butter mixture should have cooled down to room temperature.
When the eggs and sugar are combined and your happy with them and the butter and chocolate mix has cooled down then add the chocolate mix to the mixing bowl and stir it in to the mixing bowl with the egg and sugar mixture.  Stir these two together until the egg mix looks mainly chocolately and then sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and combine it to create a fudgy batter.  

When it has reached this stage pour the batter into the lined tin and cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is cracked but the middle is just set.  Then you need to let it cool remove from the tin.

I attempted to make this recipe twice before I was happy with it.  The first time I only had 100g of chocolate in the house so I halved the recipes and then my chocolate theif boyfriend stole a few pieces as I started baking.  I didn’t let this deter me as I was a bit over excited about making my own delicious brownies and remembered that I had fudge chunks and chocolate chips in the cupboard so I added these to the mix.

It all looked like it was doing ok, it didn’t look cracked on top after 25 minutes so I left it for another 5 minutes and when I took it out it look great. 

Then it cooled and disaster! The fudge chunks had sunken to the bottom and burnt and as the recipe was halved there wasn’t much left once the burnt part was cut off.

Lesson learnt I went to the shop and stocked up on supplies to try the recipe again.  This time I didn’t take the chocolate from it’s hiding place until the chocolate thief was in the bath and resisted the urge to tweek the recipe.  Never the less after the last attempt I was cautious and checked the brownies after they were in for 20 minutes, then 25 and then removed them at 30 minutes. I was quite nervous but thankfully this batch left my oven unscathed.

I also realised that I still had some chocolate chips and fudge chunks left, so I sprinkled them on the brownies and melted the last of my chocolate to use to secure them in place.

It tasted lovely! Me and the chocolate thief both enjoyed them but felt a whole tin full of brownies was a bit much for two people and I took some round to the neighbours to share the spoils. Nice chocolate brownies but I'm still not sure if they're as good as Gemma's...

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