Ultra gooey chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies are an all time favourite of mine. The biggest trick to brownies is knowing how long to cook them for as well as using good quality dark chocolate. Unlike cake, they should still be gooey on the inside while being cooked on the outside. I must admit my timings failed a little bit with these brownies, they were a little too gooey in the middle but nevertheless they taste absolutely delicious.

The cue to make brownies for me was being given a bar of Morrisons value chocolate at a graduate recruitment fair (thank you Morrisons!) In order to make these brownies I did a 50/50 split of the value chocolate to 85% dark chocolate in order to even out the sugar a little bit. Of course I would recommend using 100% good quality chocolate but if your budget does not allow that then this ratio, for me, works just fine.

A nice way to finish these brownies is by dusting using sugar over the top or they make a great desert slightly warmed through and served with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Credit for this recipe goes to Jamie Oliver.

choc brownies 1

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter

200g good quality dark chocolate (anything with at least 70% cocoa solids)

50g walnuts

80g cocoa powder

65g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free range eggs

choc brownies 2

Method:

1) Preheat your over to 180oC/ gas mark 4. And line a 24cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2) Melt the butter and dark chocolate together by placing the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Be careful not to let the water touch the bowl.

3) In another bowl mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

4) Mix the chopped walnuts into the melted chocolate mixture and add the mixed dry ingredients.

5) Lightly beat the eggs then, beat these into the mixture until you have a silky mixture.

6) Pour the mixture into the baking tin.

choc brownies 3

7) Heat for about 25 minutes until the brownies are baked on the outside but still soft in the middle.

8) Allow the brownies to cool in the tray before transferring them to a chopping board and chopping into squares.

Chocolate, banana and strawberry smoothie

Chocolate, strawbery and banana smoothieI have been wanting to make smoothies for ages but due to the lack of a blender, I never have. The nagging feeling that I would use it once and it would never leave the cupboard again prevented me from buying one. Since I’ve moved back to my parents (there is a blender!) I have been going mad with them. I’ve made this one pretty much every day since I moved home. It just tastes so good! I’m having it for my breakfast and am actually finding that I wake up looking forward to its rich chocolaty goodness. Fruit in blender Ingredients:

150ml chocolate soy milk

handful of strawberries (about 5/6)

1 banana

170ml Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon peanut butter

Method:

1) Chop up the fruit

2) Throw everything in a blender

3) Serve

How easy is that?! A delicious and easy breakfast that can’t be too far off two of your five a day.

Peanut butter cup cupcakes

Peanut butter cup cupcake

These turned out much better than I expected! I used (and slightly adapted) an american recipe meaning that all the ingredients were in cups not grams. What I hadn’t previously realised was that a cup of flour weighs a very different amount to a cup of peanut butter. Now that I think about it this seems very, very obvious!

Having converted each quantity into grams and ml (has anyone else found that different websites say different things?!) I was sceptical of the final result. The result was however a gorgeous soft cake that filled the senses with the smell and taste of peanut butter with each bite. I’ve received nothing but compliments from baking these and I hope you experience the same results.

(makes 12) 

For the cake:

150g  plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

165g crunchy peanut butter (you could use creamy if you’d prefer)

115g butter (at room temperature)

135g light muscovado sugar

2 medium eggs

1tsp vanilla essence

60ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)

Method

1) Preheat your oven to 180oC

2) Using a whisk, cream together the peanut butter, butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy

3) Beat in the eggs gradually being careful not to let the mixture curdle

4) Beat in the vanilla essence

4) Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt and gradually fold into the mixture, alternating with milk (The mixture does look quite runny, I promise this is fine!)

5) Divide evenly between 12 cupcake cases

6) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top has turned golden brown and a skewer comes out clean

7) Allow to cool

For the frosting:

320g icing sugar

65g coco powder

90g butter (at room temperature)

8 tbs double cream

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

1) Whisk the butter in a bowl until light and creamy

2) Beat in the icing powder and coco powder alternating with the double cream

3) Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes

Much Love

Nikki

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