Chocolate indulgence: brownies with pecan nuts and cranberries

I bet everyone has their own favorite recipe of brownies. I had been looking for mine since the dawn of time (well, my time). It was mostly due to my unstable relationship with chocolate. Don’t get me wrong – it is very stable when it comes to eating chocolate, but not very stable when it comes to baking something with it… But I love brownies and chocolate cake, and… just chocolate! So the time had come to give the brownie challenge another try. This time I used a recipe from BBC Good Food as a base for the experiment, but mixed things up a little bit as usual. As much as I love chocolate, I feel it is somehow wrong to put chocolate in chocolate cake… If you’re with me on this, continue reading (if not, use the original recipe).

brownies

Ingredients:

  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g dark chocolate (70-72% cocoa)
  • 90 g plain flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 300 g brown sugar
  • 2 table spoons cocoa powder
  • 50 g pecan nuts
  • 50 g dried cranberries

Preparation:

  1. Choose a medium-sized bowl, preferably heatproof. Cut the butter in small cubes and break the chocolate into small pieces. Put it all in the bowl.
  2. Sit the bowl over a pot or saucepan of hot water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Put it on low heat (I used the lowest one I had) and let the water simmer till the chocolate and butter have melted. You will need to stir occasionally to get an even chocolate and butter mixture.
  3. Once the butter and the chocolate have melted, remove the bowl from the heat and leave it aside for a while to cool (20 to 30 minutes should be enough while you prepare everything else).
  4. Choose a baking tray. The original recipe suggests 20 cm square tin, but I used a round cake tin with 25 cm in diameter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and use butter on the sides. Heat up your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Mix your flour with the cocoa powder, and put the mixture through a sieve. I normally don’t bother with such things (guilty as charged!), but I think this time it’s quite important.
  6. And also, chop the pecan nuts in smaller pieces so that they’re ready (together with cranberries) when you’ll need them. The quantities I gave in the ingredients section (50 g of pecan nuts and 50 g of dried cranberries) are an approximate guess of what I added. Feel free to choose your own additives (I can imagine that dried cherries could be great!) to make things more interesting.
  7. Now we come to the really important part! Put the eggs in a large bowl and add the sugar (make sure that your eggs are room temperature). Whisk them together with electrical mixer on maximum speed till they have doubled in size and gotten pale and thick (it took me about 6 minutes). You’ll know when its ready!
  8. Add the chocolate mixture all at once. It will sink to the bottom of the bowl because it is heavier than your egg mixture. Use spatula or wooden spoon to slowly and gently mix them together. It is really important not to lose all the air you worked into your eggs so be patient. With each stroke try to bring up the chocolate from the bottom of the bowl. Your egg mixture will gradually become darker. I stopped around the time there was no more chocolate coming up from the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Add the flour and cocoa powder mixture, but put it through sieve one more time. It will be easier to mix it in if it is really light and powdery. Use the same kind of approach to mixing in the flour as you did with eggs and chocolate. Stop as soon as you think the flour is fully incorporated. There is no need to overdo it!
  10. Finally, add the nuts and dried cranberries. Gently mix them in with couple of strokes and your brownie mixture is ready!
  11. Pour the mixture in the tin and even it out all over. Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes. Do whatever it takes, but don’t open the oven before that! You will know that it’s ready, if there is no wobble in the middle when you shake the tin. Depending on your oven, you might need to leave it in for another 5 minutes, but mine were ready in time.
  12. Take them out of the oven and let them cool in the tin. Afterwards, cut them into smaller pieces and simply enjoy!

Final reminder: it’s all about the gentle mixing process! Just be patient and don’t overdo it!

Good luck!

2 thoughts on “Chocolate indulgence: brownies with pecan nuts and cranberries”

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