The rain seems like it has been non stop for so long that Charlotte decided to pop off for a last bit of sunshine with her husband Will in St Lucia, lucky girl, before the arrival of their first baby in May. Bravely she left me and her sister Emily in charge of this blog for 2 weeks, so next week Emily will be introducing herself and bringing a flavour of Hong Kong to the blog and this week I’m sharing my love of brownies from rural Hampshire.
My name is Jenni and I’m Charlotte and Emily’s mum, I love baking and sharing recipes with the girls and I also bake to sell for a charity very personal to all our family. The charity is Harrison’s Fund, named after my grandson who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, http://www.harrisonsfund.com
Charlotte and Will moved to their first ‘grown up’ house complete with a staircase (!) just before going off on holiday and while helping her she called me up to the top floor where I found her sitting looking at an old photograph album. Although digital photos are fantastic I do miss how we used to always get prints and put them into albums to rediscover at a later date and relive the memories. The photos she was looking at were from family holidays that we had taken at a great tennis and golf resort in Florida, called Saddlebrook. The girls spent the mornings in the tennis camp and the afternoons in the huge swimming pool and then in the evenings we went out to either shop or enjoy a meal in some of the great restaurants in the local area. Many an hour was whiled away sitting on the steps half in the pool, keeping cool in the hot Florida sunshine, either reading or chatting to friends and family while the children played. Simple pleasures but that’s how memories are made.
Our family loves chocolate, well who doesn’t I hear you say, but chocolate seems to be in there at lots of our family occasions. Christmas cannot happen without a great quantity of delicious chocolate suchards being made and birthdays usually involve a chocolate cake or a pile of brownies adorned with candles. I think the love of brownies first started in Florida, and usually I bake the absolutely mouthwatering Nigella Lawson variety, but having picked up a copy of the latest Waitrose magazine I discovered this recipe for a brownie with a difference.
I love salty and sweet together and these honey-roasted nut butter brownies perfectly combine those flavours with chocolate so what could there be not to like? I also like to think it’s fairly healthy, nuts are good for you, there’s not a lot of flour and everyone knows chocolate is good for you!
The brownie has just the right amount of nuts in it to provide that little bit of bite and texture within a melt in the mouth brownie and is perfectly complimented by the salty sweet nut butter streaked with rich chocolate on the top, definitely a mouthful of deliciousness. I sent some to my daughter-in-law who at present is trying to limit her sugar and carb intake as she believes she loves cake just a tiny bit too much, even though it certainly doesn’t show on her. This is the text she sent me – “Had to sample a brownie as part of a balance diet (he he!) and have to say they are really rather yummy…they are only little so I think more quality control is in order…yes I can confirm they are delicious!”
Honey-Roast Nut Butter Brownies
Makes 16 small or 9 good size
250g mixed nuts
2 tsp runny honey
1 ½ tsp sea salt
140g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g golden caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 200 C, gas mark 6. Roughly chop the nuts; scatter on a large parchment-lined baking tray. Roast for 3-5 minutes, then stir through the honey and sea salt. Roast for 3-5 minutes until golden; cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 180C, gas mark 4. Line a 20cm x20cm square cake tin with parchment. Melt the butter and 200gm chocolate over a low heat; stir gently until combined. Take off the heat.
Whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the eggs, then flour, until smooth. Stir in 75gm of the nuts. Tip into the tin; bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in the tin.
Meanwhile, blitz the remaining nuts in a food processor until smooth. This may take a while, but leave the motor running and it will turn into a smooth nut butter. Take the brownies out of the tin and spread the nut butter over the top. Chill for 10 minutes.
Put the remaining chocolate in a small resealable freezer bag. Put in a bowl and cover with boiling ater for 10 minutes; cool for 5 minutes. Snip a small corner off the bag; drizzle the chocolate over the brownies. Leave to set, then slice.