I’ve just made banana bread. Again. Seriously, I’ll be making it after I’m dead. I must get better at banana management.
Ottolenghi once more, but this time I’m not arsing about with vegetables or herbs or anything insane like that. I’ve traditionally struggled with making brownies, the boyfriend’s most common comment being, ‘they’re a bit dry’. His final words before being beaten to death with a brownie tin, obviously.
So I thought I’d try an Ottolenghi version, counting on the fact it’d be (i) a faff, (ii) involve lots of ingredients, and (iii) expensive to make so if I messed it up I could feel properly guilty.
The bastard things came out delicious so I’m likely stuck making them again. And again. Rather like banana bread, albeit less prosaic and much more dangerous to the cook. More on that in a short bit.
Preheat your oven to 170C or gas mark 3. Actually you’re supposed to do that after you’ve made the toffee but I’m giving you the preheat instruction now cause I’ll forget later.
200g unsalted butter with a bit extra for greasing
280g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I did not use)
300g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85%)
2 free-range eggs. It’ll blatantly not work if your eggs are not free range. Mine were free range, so there you go. Evidence.
220g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
140g apricot, banana or raspberry jam. BANANA JAM? I don’t think so. Either way, I used no jam at all.
For the butter toffee:
15g unsalted butter with a bit more, melted, for greasing
75g caster sugar
(I must admit here to shitting up the amounts and accidentally tripling the amount of butter I put in, so had to put triple the sugar, and so made a ton of toffee I didn’t need. Don’t do that).
Brush an oven tray with some melted butter and set aside.
In a heavy-based saucepan (and please use a biggish one, as you’ll be needing to undertake some kind of beating of the boiling hot mix and a small saucepan, as I discovered, will be unable to contain the BASTARDING HOT MELTED SUGAR OW OW OW OW) put the butter and sugar for the toffee and place over a medium heat. Stir it pretty constantly with a wooden spoon.
You’re to wait until it turns a ‘dark caramelly’ colour and you’re not to worry if it looks like splitting, as it has begun to do in the above photo. Yotam, our friend, says that if you stir vigorously it’ll come back together. When I stirred my triple-sized amount in my small saucepan I just got really hot stuff all over the stove, my shirt, my arms and the floor.
When it gets to something approximating the above colour, pour out onto your buttered tray and let set. It ideally won’t be as thick as I’ve managed. I really cocked the whole toffee thing up.
Brush your brownie pan (I used a 22cm square pan) and line it.
Ottolenghi wants you to melt your butter and sugar in a bowl over some water. I did mine in a microwave. Just don’t let it boil or anything like that. Whichever way you choose, melt the butter and chocolate together.
In another bowl you kind of lightly whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until just combined. The Big O says for a few seconds only. Fold in the melted chocolate and butter, and then the flour.
Having broken up your toffee into small bits (I threw mine in a freezer bag and went all crazy-lady on it with a rolling pin), chuck that in, too.
Fold the mix together till combined.
Into your tin and into the oven for between 20-25 mins. Ottolenghi says drop jam in spoonfuls into the mix and swirl with a knife before going in the oven. I did not do that.
Mine took just short of 20 mins. Better underdone than over, innit. You want a skewer to come out with wet crumbs. Dry crumbs = you have royally effed up.
The dog with her favourite toy. Have I used this pic before? I don’t remember and I cannot be bothered to check. Peter Rabbit freaks me out. Look at his face. LOOK AT IT.
I believe he animates at night, when we are all asleep, and roams the house eating the stuffing out of the other toys.
Brownies out when done, let cool in the tin. Cut. EAT. EAT IT ALL. We have two pieces left. Tonight they die.