Everyday Brownies… because one should never consider a life where one cannot enjoy a brownie everyday.
After reinvigorating the art of home-baking with her sophomore tome, How To Be a Domestic Goddess, long before that exiled BBC TV show, the Rt. Honourable Nigella Lawson should be rightfully viewed as a expert on the ubiquitous brownie. Coffee shop favourite, served ‘warm’ as a classic pub dessert or laced with hash for an altogether different kind of treat. You would be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t have an opinion on this popular tray bake.
There are occasions for all I’m sure, from its decadent soft fudge like incarnations (Nigella’s naturally), to the less rich, flattened chocolate sponge varieties. I’ve laced Brownies with all manner of nuts, dried fruit and essences. I’ve gone for a diplomatic American-Middle Eastern fusion flavoured with spice, rosewater and pistachios; baked brownies with a layer of New York cheesecake on top – eventually covered in Raspberry Cream. (just beyond delicious.- another time). The essence of the brownie though, is in the balance of chocolate to sugar and fat. Too far in either direction and they’re rendered inedible.
I have made Nigella’s ultimate brownies on more than one occasion. I have also overindulged on Nigella’s ultimate brownies on more than one occasion. This may explain the waves of nauseous I suffer when thinking of brownies. With nearly 400g of ‘good quality chocolate and the same of butter, they are a rich beast of a bake. Delicious as they are, I balk when the price of the bake pushes over the ten pound mark. (Good Chocolate ain’t cheap in these troubled times of drought.) I also wince at the idea of spending so much money and time on something that I will struggle to eat more than one portion of.
Is there really such a thing as an Everyday Brownie?
This more humble recipe for Everyday Brownies is the perfect antidote for that mid week sugar fix. Even though I have lapsed spiritually, yesterday was the first day of Lent and I am still culturally Catholic so the *slightly* more austere bake was perfect for the occasion. With a more modest combination of eggs, butter, flour, sugar and cocoa – this is a more frugal affair. The chocolate is added to the batter just before baking so you have little chocolate chips throughout the tray. With all of the ingredients in the store cupboard, some dark chocolate conveniently picked up some Ikea on the weekend, these brownies were a breeze to make.
The intensity of the cocoa meant these ‘Everyday Brownies didn’t feel remotely austere. If anything, they were still too rich. I could have done with a good dollop of ice cream to cut through it all. The next day though, they came into their own. Once the fudgey consistency had set, they were much better balanced. If I could change anything, I would probably add a bit more salt to balance the sweetness, but that’s just down to my own preference for da sweet n’ salty. In a happy coincidence the middle of mine hadn’t quite cooked so I had a winning combo of the cakey and fudgey.
Less extravagant than her Ultimate recipe, but no less indulgent. Nigella Lawson’s Everyday Brownies were an unsurprising success. Maybe best not to eat quite everyday though,
Sadly the recipe isn’t available on nigella.com but you can find it copied by someone else here or in the very good Kitchen. For more brownie discourse check out Felicity Cloake’s search for the perfect brownie.