THE BEST BAKE-AHEAD CHOCOLATE BROWNIES




Now that Autumn is here, it's brought charity coffee mornings and cosy nights in front of the telly watching the Great British Bake-Off along for the ride. These fully-loaded chocolate brownies are the perfect addition to any menu, whether you want to impress your colleagues, pals or partner, or you just fancy having a stash of sweet treats within easy reach. Best of all, you can make them ahead of time and store them in your freezer until you need them. They keep for around a month. (Probably more, but they never last that long in my house.)


You'll need minimal tools to pull this off - a pot of boiling water, a glass bowl, mixing bowl, a whisk - a hand one is fine - a baking dish and a spatula.


First of all pre-heat your oven to 180°C and grease a baking dish with butter.


Over a pot of water on a low boil place your glass bowl and fill with 200g broken chocolate - I use a mix of dark and milk - 4tbsp cocoa powder and 125g unsalted butter. Stir until melted, careful not to allow the water below to touch the base of your bowl or you'll burn the mixture.


Stir in a generous dash of cinnamon and equal pinches of cardamom and nutmeg.


In a separate mixing bowl add 110g golden caster sugar, 110g icing sugar, 3 medium eggs and a dash of vanilla extract. Whisk together until evenly combined. Add the chocolate mixture and combine.



Next, add in 150g plain flour, stirring until it's fully combined with the chocolatey mixture. Stir in berries of your choice - as many as you wish or have to hand. I like a mix of redcurrants, raspberries and blueberries.


Pour the brownie mixture into your greased dish and run the spatula over the top to ensure it's evenly spread across the dish. For a final touch of decadence, dollop a few spoonfuls of dulce de leche (or caramel sauce) on top. Taking a toothpick or the edge of a fork, run it up and down the mix from one end to the other to create a marbling effect.


Pop the dish in the oven and forget about it for 25 mins. Your finished product should be risen and still moist in the middle. It should have a kind of spongey texture - press your index finger lightly on top. If the brownie bounces back it's perfectly baked.


Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Each batch should yield around 20 brownies, depending on how generous your squares are. For the sake of your (and my) waistline, these brownies are best shared in fine company, with a cracking cup of tea.


Happy baking and I'll see you back here next week.


Keep wondering, Laura



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