Portion/Yield:Makes about 30 brownies
Chocolaty, gooey and deliciously rich is the only way to describe these scrumptious chocolate brownies! There are hundreds of brownie recipes out there, but it’s rare that you find one like this. I realise that it’s expensive, but it’s definitely worth a try! The main secret to the success of these brownies is the way you cook them; above all, make sure you don’t overcook them.
The cooked brownies keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks (if they last that long!) and they get better as they mature. They freeze well too for up to 1 month; simply defrost them at room temperature, then enjoy them on a rainy day when you are craving something chocolaty.
Ingredients & Method
- 300g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 300g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 5 large eggs
- 450g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 150g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 34 x 25 x 6cm roasting tin or cake tin and line it with non-stick baking paper.
Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water underneath). Leave to melt and combine, stirring occasionally.
Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk (or you can do this by hand or with a hand-held electric whisk, if you prefer), then whisk together until the mixture becomes thick, creamy and pale in colour. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture, whisking continuously, until combined.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt over the chocolate mixture, then using a metal spoon, use long folding motions to gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until combined. Pour the brownie mixture evenly into the prepared tin.
Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Once ready, this giant brownie should not wobble, but it should remain gooey on the inside. I prefer to set the timer first for 20 minutes, then test by giving the tin a small nudge and if the brownie wobbles, it needs a further 5 minutes in the oven. If it’s ‘solid’ after 20 minutes, it means that the brownie is cooked. Remember that it will continue to cook as it cools down.
Remove from the oven and leave the brownie to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, then cut it into squares or bars and remove from the tin. Dust with extra cocoa powder for that final cocoa kick, if you like, then serve warm or cold. Keep any leftover brownies in an airtight container (with non-stick baking paper between each layer) in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
Make sure you use the correct size of tin and do not overcook the brownies. As a general rule of thumb, when you start to smell them they are usually close to being done. You are better off removing them too soon and then putting them back in the oven (which does no harm at all!) than overcooking them.
For a bit of variety, add 200–250g chopped nuts (such as hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios or peanuts), or about 250g dried fruit, such as dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins or chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots (or a combination of chopped nuts and dried fruit). Gently fold these into the uncooked brownie mixture after you have folded the flour mixture in.