Senin, 14 Januari 2008

A Weekend Full of Cooking, and a Recipe for Chocolate Brownies

Last weekend I baked no less than four cakes (chocolate buttercream cake with mocha glaze, saffron and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, Manhattan cheesecake, and chocolate brownies), a cookie sheet full of small potato puff rolls, and prepared a festive salmon dish with lime and mustard. These were all for K's mum's birthday parties on the weekend. We attended just the one on Saturday, but were asked to prepare cakes for the other birthday party session as well:) Of course, I also cooked casual meals for myself and K. (sauerkraut soup with chicken drumsticks for dinner last night, and curd cheese patties with apples for dessert; K. made us these pretty curd cheese pancakes for brunch yesterday. We enjoyed the pancakes with some Cherry Republic's Blue Cherry Preserve - a surprise gift from one of my US readers, Ülle.

I love weekends like that.

And it looks like there's something American in the air at the moment. Only recently I found myself making coleslaw in the midst of winter. And two of the four cakes I brought along to K's mum's place were distinctly American - Manhattan cheesecake and Chocolate brownies. It's not surprising, of course, considering that many of my favourite food blogs and daily reads are written by Americans. No wonder then that my culinary mind and appetite lusts after American classics every now and then. However, the brownie recipe I've used for years is from Thorntons, the British high-street chocolatier. I've tried few others, but this is the one I keep returning to over and over again, when I'm craving chocolate. I don't like crumbly and over-baked brownies. This recipe results in brownies with a perfectly chewy-crispy top, and moist-chocolatey inside (even if one cannot really see that on the photo). I love large squares of it when still warm. And when it's cold, I cut it into tiny squares - no bigger than 2 cm - and eat as nutty chocolate candies :)

Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16

200 g butter
200 g dark chocolate (min. 70%)
3 medium eggs
250 g sugar
100 g plain/all-purpose flour
100 g walnuts, chopped
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Line a square cake tin (24x24 cm) with a parchment paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie or microwave. Cool a little.
Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixture. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
Fold in flour, salt, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
Pour the batter into the tin, and bake in a preheated 170˚C oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is chewy-crisp on the top and still moist inside.
Serve when still warm.
Alternatively, let cool in a tin, then cut into (smallish) squares.