mutteringhousewife

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Tag: Tish Boyle

Extra Chocolatey Brownies. With Extra Chocolate

I was going to tell you an amusing story about my early morning encounter with a range of neighbourhood pets, but it was thirty six hours ago now and the immediacy is gone. It also reflects poorly on my housekeeping and anyway the swelling has started to subside. So instead I’ll be telling you about a new brownie recipe I tried on the weekend. It was very chocolatey.

There are so very many brownie recipes, not all of them very good, so once you have a tried and tested one that is fairly well received it’s hard to deviate from it. But I trust Tish Boyle, and I’d been waiting for a party or something to try her Double Chocolate Brownies out on because it looked so rich. This weekend there was such an event, there were two little nieces with birthdays this week, so a family gathering was called.

This is a walkover for the Thermomix, but if you don’t have one you could always mess about with double boilers and bowls and such. Melt together 150 grams of terrific chocolate (I’m using 70% Callebaut drops) with 180 grams of sweet butter. I’m not game yet to use my homemade butter on such a butter rich recipe, we’ll work our way up. I’ve used it in an oatmeal biscuit and it was completely acceptable. In the Thermomix you put the temperature on about 60 degrees and set it going for about four minutes on speed two. Or however long it takes to melt.

You then need to crack out your KitchenAid and slot in the whisk. If you’re doing the lot the Thermomix, scoop out the chocolate butter mix into a bowl, wash the jug and dry it. Stick in the butterfly. Beat together three eggs, a cup of caster sugar, a third of a cup of brown sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Beat it oh so very much, you won’t be doing this with a fork. After some minutes it will be thick and light coloured and will form a ribbon dripping from the whisk when you lift the KitchenAid head. Pour in the chocolate mixture. For me it sank straight to the bottom, meaning that mixing it gently with the paddle had little to no effect. Use a wooden spoon. Add a cup of white flour and fold that gently in. Stir in 180 grams of chocolate bits, you could use the same brand as you melted earlier or something lighter. Scrape the lot into a lined nine inch square cake pan.

In theory you could bake it at 160 degrees Celsius for almost an hour, or until the skewer test says that it’s done. In practise you could put up with the Horror from Outer Space hopping up and down beside you saying “shouldn’t we go now shouldn’t we go now shouldn’t we go now we’re going to be late shouldn’t we…” for as long as you can stand, in my case about half an hour – my stamina has built up over the years, take it out of the oven half cooked and finish baking it at your sister’s place.

The what I recommend you don’t do is haul it out of the pan and immediately attempt to cut it up so that people can start eating it. It isn’t interested. It will sag and crumble. That didn’t stop about a third of it being eaten before it cooled down. Cool it completely, and maybe even wait a day. Then it will look like this.

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It’s got a crunchy crust and a very rich and dense inside, but not wet or too fudgy. The high cocoa chocolate was perfect for this, it’s just gorgeous. You really could leave out the extra chocolate chips and bung in walnuts or nothing at all and it would still be a commanding presence in the brownie lexicon. However it’s no good for the schoolgirl figure at all. Perhaps if I ice my ankle some more I could go to the gym in the morning.

Lime Shortbread

The Moose must have been bitten by a Boy Scout because last week, on his way to tennis, he helped an elderly man load some boxes into his car. His reward was some tiny limes from the tree in the man’s front yard and he was very excited to show me the fruits of his virtue. And you know that I always love unconventionally acquired food.

It had to be something with lime zest. Fresh limes straight from the tree, no wax and looked like no juice also. I thought about cola, but the Moose isn’t that keen on it. I am though, so was tempted to go ahead anyway, but while doing some bedtime reading of Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie, a constant source of inspiration, I came across a recipe for lime shortbread. Winner.

I would strongly recommend hauling out the wallet and getting some Pepe Saya butter for this one. I’ve done a fair bit of testing now and if you’re rationing yourself then you should save this butter for pastry and shortbread. For those perusing from a different country, Pepe Saya is a cultured butter made from the milk of contented cows and is a very fine thing indeed.

OK, recipe. Place in a bowl two cups of flour, three quarters of a cup of icing sugar, a quarter of a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of ground ginger and a tablespoon of fresh lime zest and mix them all up. Scatter over the top one hundred and seventy grams of cold butter chopped into chunks (I actually did the conversion this time). Cut it into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are quite small. The KitchenAid did a perfectly adequate job of this. Stop the KitchenAid and pour in two tablespoons of lime juice and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. I had to get the lime juice from conventionally acquired limes, those tiny ones were solid with green seeds inside. Mix very slowly until the dough just starts coming together. Squish it about a bit with your hands to make it smooth, then divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Stick it in the fridge until it’s good and solid again. You may want to go and process some concert subscriptions and work out how to convert a sheet into a toga for when your youngest son goes to the Literature Festival as Zeus. No, I didn’t think Zeus was a literary figure either, but he got it past the librarian.

Take the plastic wrap off and slice the logs into biscuits about four millilitres thick. They don’t spread very much, so you can place them quite close together on your lined baking sheet. Bake them at 160 degrees fan forced (180 degrees not) until they’re just starting to go golden around the edges, it will take about fifteen minutes and keep an eye on them. Don’t let them brown.

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Those aren’t the limes, they’re just for illustrative purposes. I warned the kids that the green flecks in the biscuits weren’t mould, they were lime zest. That could be an issue with their visual appeal, but goodness they taste good. Not as soft as shortbread often is, almost crunchy and a very definitely limey. You can’t really taste the ginger, but I think it adds a bit of complexity to the flavour. Like I said, winner.

Raspberry Linzer Thingo

There are still many recipes in Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie that I want to try and I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. I’ll tell you at the outset that it tastes fantastic, but it’s no good at all. Have a go at it after I’ve gone through a few iterations. It’s a texture thing.

I’m going to give you the recipe anyway. Grind together half a cup of slivered almonds, half a cup of hazelnuts and half a cup of caster sugar. If you have a terrific almost brand new blender, this will take seconds. If your almost brand new blender is taking a holiday in Western Australia you’ll need to do this in four batches in your twenty year old coffee grinder. I’m not bitter. Much.

In your far more reliable KitchenAid, mix 270 grams of butter with a third of a cup of brown sugar. I think this may be my problem. The recipe specifies 9 tablespoons of butter, and I’m using a conversion of thirty grams to the tablespoon. What kind of measurement is a tablespoon? Crazy Americans. Anyway, it’s clearly too much. Next time I make this, and I will, I’ll be using significantly less butter. Maybe just 200 grams. We’ll see. Beat in an egg. Beat in the ground nuts and sugar mixture, also half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a quarter of a teaspoon of almond essence. Don’t mess with the flavours, they’re just right. Add one and a half cups of plain flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, one quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves (you want them very finely ground, they’re very strong), and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Mix it up until it just comes together.

The second problem is that this is a very large amount of dough. The recipe suggests pressing two thirds of it into a lined square cake tin, spreading it with raspberry jam, then messing about with cutting the rest into strips and doing a fancy lattice arrangement on top with them. Because the dough was so soft with all the butter, the strips just blobbed in to each other. That’s another reason I think the butter measurement was wrong. I think next time I’d spread the dough out into a larger slice pan and possibly still do the lattice thing with the firmer dough. You’d need more than half a cup of raspberry jam, so buy more than one jar. Bake it at 160 degrees for about thirty five minutes.

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You can see that it’s very soft, but the taste is sensational. It’s definitely going in my morning tea repertoire. Once I get it right.

Edited to note that a friend has very kindly pointed out, restraining herself from all forms of mockery, that a tablespoon is only fifteen grams. Doesn’t that explain a lot? In my very poor defence, I was clearly thinking of an oz. What better illustration could there be for the adoption of SI units?