Chocolate brownies are a big hit in our house, especially when made with beetroot, but on this occasion I decided to try a different recipe, from the May edition of The Good Food magazine. I had seen and forgotten about this recipe until stumbling across it a couple of days ago. I don’t know about you, but my usual decision process for sampling a new recipe is by how the picture appears and whether or not it makes me salivate just by looking at the page – this recipe certainly ticked the box!
It’s quite a quick and easy recipe and the results were excellent, even though I do say so myself. The brownies had a slight crunch on the outside, but were beautifully gooey on the inside, just as they should be. A testament of how good they are – my husband has asked me not to make them again as he finds it impossible to resist and has no willpower to only have one or two squares!
PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES
225g crunchy peanut butter
200g bar dark chocolate , broken into pieces
280g soft light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
100g self-raising flour
Set aside 50g each of the peanut butter and chocolate. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment. Gently melt remaining peanut butter, chocolate and all the sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has just about melted. Turn off heat and use a wooden spoon to beat in the eggs one by one. Stir in the flour and scrape into the tin.
Melt reserved peanut butter in the microwave on High for 45 secs, or in a pan, until runny, then drizzle over the brownie. Bake for 30-35 mins until it has a crust, but the middle still seems slightly uncooked.
Melt reserved chocolate, drizzle over the brownie, then cool in the tin before cutting into squares.
My hubby has asked that I stop making cakes for a while as he thinks his waist line is expanding too quickly! I couldn’t resist making these though, and did think that as they’re cut into small squares, he could at least have some portion control. Four squares later, it appears he has no control! So either I stop baking (yeah right!) or he finds some willpower – or buys larger trousers!
I first saw this recipe back in 2009 in the Good Food Magazine, but it’s only been this week that I’ve eventually got round to making it after stumbling across it on a Good Food Cakes App. It was surprisingly easy to make and although I haven’t eaten any (still battling with the bingo wings and thunder thighs, not to mention being wheat intolerant) but from what little is left in the cake tin, and going from the ‘mmmmm’s’ and ‘yuuuuumy’s’ coming from the family whilst they sampled the delight, I’m guessing this was a big hit.
The cake is gloriously calorific and laden with peanut butter and dulce de leche, which seem to work beautifully together. The roasted salted peanuts which were caramelised and scattered on the top gave balance to the sweetness of the cake, just enough so it wasn’t sickly.
200g butter , softened, plus extra for greasing
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter , plus 2 tbsp for the middle (or more if you like)
4 large eggs
200g golden caster sugar
150g pot natural yogurt
200g self-raising flour
F OR THE FILLING AND TOPPING
50g salted roasted peanuts
1 tbsp icing sugar
100g milk chocolate , roughly chopped
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp dulce de leche (or carnation caramel)
Butter 2 x 20cm non-stick sandwich tins and line with circles of baking paper. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Using electric hand beaters, beat the butter, 3 tbsp peanut butter, eggs, sugar and yogurt together until smooth and creamy. Fold in the flour, then split the mix between the tins, using a spatula to get every last bit. Bake for 30 mins until risen and golden.
Meanwhile, toss the salted peanuts and icing sugar with ½ tsp water until well coated and claggy. Spread over a non-stick baking sheet. When the cakes are ready, leave them to cool for 5 mins in the tin, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Turn the oven up to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, then roast the nuts for 10 mins, tossing them a couple of times until golden and coated in a shiny caramel. Tip onto a lightly buttered plate. Make the topping while you wait: melt the chocolate and milk together in a pan over simmering water or microwave on High for 1 min, then stir to melt. Leave to cool.
Put one of the sponges onto a plate, spread with 2 tbsp peanut butter (or more), then dot with the dulce de leche and spread with a palette knife. Sandwich the second sponge on top, then spread with the chocolate topping. Scatter with the caramelised peanuts to serve.
This is definitely one to do again, and again, and again!
There are certain tasks around the house that remind me of different family members. Wiping the bathroom sink out and putting the loo roll the ‘correct’ way round reminds me of my mother, grinding coffee, my elder sister and changing an electric plug, my Grandfather, are just a few. A couple of days ago I was sitting shelling peas whilst reminiscing about by Grandmother. She would sit in the garden with a bowl and colander, surrounded by sweet smelling peas tucked up in the pods, merrily chatting whilst shelling at a speed that would put the top chefs to shame.
She was everything a Grandmother should be, caring and loving, first class at knitting and baked the most amazing cakes. The ones that spring to mind instantly are her coffee and walnut cake, gooey sticky meringues and our particular favourite as children, her chocolate fairy cakes covered in melted chocolate with a Smartie on top.
My sisters and I have tried to reconstruct her recipes, but no matter how many times we try the end product just never turn out quite the same as Gran’s.
My daughter has very fond memories of my Gran, and from an age when her first words were being vocalised she decided to call her Biscuit Tin Gran, on the account that the biscuit tin played a starring role during every visit. When Gran died and her belongings were being sorted out, it was felt appropriate that the infamous biscuit tin be passed to my daughter.
At the age of 16 my daughter seems to have developed the baking bug, much to my delight, although to say she’s a messy cook is an understatement. I am sure Biscuit Tin Gran would be incredibly proud of her though, but would “box her ears” for the chaos she creates in a kitchen!
One of the first recipes my daughter attempted on her own was Peanut Butter Biscuits. A great recipe for beginners as everything can be thrown in a mixer together and it takes no time at all to get from weighing the ingredients to eating the goodies.
Peanut Butter Biscuits
60g light brown sugar
60g golden syrup
115g crunchy peanut butter
85g plain flour
30g medium oatmeal
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Roll a spoonful of the dough in your hands to form a walnut size round and gently flatten. Space apart on a tray covered with baking paper. Bake on the middle shelf in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, enjoy with a cuppa.