In these testing social distancing and self-isolation times it can be hard to find the positives. When will be able to socialise again? When will normality resume? Well, I have no idea. But one thing I do know is there’s a great way to pass the time, and that is baking (and eating) delicious brownies.
As mentioned in previous posts, I’m not a natural baker, which is why any kind of dessert I make tends to be a no-bake cheesecake. And even then, there’s about a 50/50 chance it’ll end up a disaster. (Let’s not mention the time I tried to make a gin and raspberry cheesecake for my mum’s birthday and it didn’t set, so everyone had to politely eat it like soup…)
Anyway, I approached these brownies with trepidation. Partly because I’m terrible at following recipes and tend to go a little off piste, and partly because I was making a lot of substitutions to said recipe in order to make the brownies dairy and gluten free as well as a little less sickly sweet.
But! They were a success! So much so, I’ve made them twice in the last week (I had eggs to use up and if I’m honest, the first batch disappeared pretty quickly.)
The first time I made them, I included more sugar (around 270g) but used a peanut butter that was 100% peanut so that balanced the sweetness, and I also threw in some 100% cocoa chocolate too (would not recommend this as a snack by the way.)
However the second attempt was made using a peanut butter that does include some sugar in its ingredients, so I scaled back the sugar in the recipe to 200g to accommodate.
I think both versions work – potentially the version with more sugar were slightly more fudgy in texture, but I think version 2 has a stronger peanut flavour and the chocolate tastes richer. So it really depends what you prefer! If I’m honest I’m not too fussy and will eat brownies in any shape or form.
So, the ingredients:
- 180g dark chocolate (I used this 72% cocoa bar from Waitrose)
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 100g gluten free self-raising flour (I like this one from Dove’s Farm)
- 225g crunchy peanut butter
- 3 medium eggs
- Handful of salted peanuts (optional)
- 2 tbsps peanut butter powder (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20cm square baking tin with non-stick baking paper
- Set aside around 20g of chocolate and 2/3 teaspoons of peanut butter
- Take the remaining chocolate and peanut butter and in a saucepan, begin to melt together
- When the mixture has mostly melted, add in the sugar and continue to stir for several minutes until starting to melt. (The texture will still be fairly grainy – don’t panic!)
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes
- Beat in the eggs and add the flour, then if you’re adding the peanut butter powder and salted peanuts, add these now too
- Once everything is mixed together, transfer the mixture to the tin
- Heat the remaining peanut butter until it’s quite runny, then use a spoon to drizzle or dot it on top of the mixture in the tin
- Bake for around 20 minutes. I’d recommend checking after 15 minutes and seeing how runny the middle is still. You want the inside to be slightly ‘underdone’ but the top to be cracking
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin
- Once the brownie has cooled, heat the remaining chocolate and drizzle this over the top too
- Leave to chill. Then remove from the tin and cut into squares (this should make about 16 brownies).
The only thing left to do is eat them! But not all at once because who knows how long it’ll be until you can stock up on the ingredients again?!