Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Orange and cranberry chocolate brownies

First off the bat, please let me apologise for my unscheduled absence of 2 weeks and counting.  I never meant to let my posts lapse to this extent, but starting some part-time voluntary work has rather knocked me for six over the last couple of weeks, and my cooking has likewise suffered*.  I had a baked potato and cheese for supper tonight...

However, I fully intend with the enthusiasm of fresh resolve never to leave so long between culinary experiments again.  And here is my (re)starting offer - a chocolate brownie to 
begin the gentle count-down to Christmas.

Now, yes I know that Christmas is still 50 days away.  And more importantly as far as
 this blog is concerned, chocolate brownies are not cheap to produce!  However, in answer to the first criticism I would argue that good things should never be constrained by dates on the calender - such as the sublime combination of orange, almond, cranberry, nuts and chocolate.  And to the second I would say that although, yes, the initial financial outlay for the ingredients is not cheap, these brownies are so rich, and keep so well, that you should be able to make several gifts for deserving friends out of them, thus keeping to the frugal ideal of my blog.

*Gosh, quite a cricket-metaphor heavy opening paragraph - Dr K will approve!

  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 200g very dark chocolate, broken into squares
  • 3 large eggs + 1 extra yoke, lightly beaten
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 40g very good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of 1 orange (unwaxed or well scrubbed)
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g hazelnuts, brazil nuts, or macadamia nuts (or a mixture), roughly chopped
  • Line the base of a square brownie tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Beat the butter and sugars together very well until really soft and fluffy.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over (but not touching) some lightly simmering water.  Make sure no steam mixes with the chocolate (which could cause it to seize) by covering the bowl with a saucepan lid.
  • Once the butter and sugar is well creamed, gradually beat in the egg in increments.
  • Fold in the melted chocolate with a large metal spoon, and then the ground almonds, cocoa, and baking powder, with a pinch of salt.
  • Lastly fold through the dried cranberries and chopped nuts and pour the brownie mixture into the tin.
  • Smooth the surface, and bake the brownies for 40 minutes, though start testing after 30 if you have a very hot oven.  When they are ready the brownies should have lost their wobble, but a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should still come out a little sticky.
  • Cool in the tin.  Once cool cut into 20 little squares.
(Please note, this recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater's 'My very good chocolate brownie recipe' in 'The Kitchen Diaries', published by Fourth Estate in London in 2005, p.325-6.  All recognition for the original recipe should go to the author.)


  1. Love brownies :0) and I've never really thought of adding other flavours to it so I must give this a go!

    Welcome back :0)

  2. Hi Chele! Struggling to keep up the posting momentum but very glad you like the brownies - they are really good!