Saturday, 9 February 2013

Chocolatey comfort

One of the most memorable things from my childhood was a children's program on where a woman sat in the pantry. What ever the lady was doing there (or talking about) I've blissfully forgotten, but the way she was always mixing cake batter that she eventually ate straight from the bowl, has never left my mind. A 30+- year anthropological field work has revealed that no-one else remembers ever seeing a show like that. Some even suspect it all took place in my imagination.

The thought how as an Adult I'd be able to eat cake batter without having to bother baking it seemed so wonderful and made the whole adulthood seem like something worth looking forward to. Now, that I actually am a Proper Adult I've come to disillusionedly learn that adulthood consists of many other things. Such as men with commitment issues. Job hunting. Agony and angst. Identity crises. 

These didn't have the patience to wait until the following day...
But yes, I have had my share of cake batter. And this one in particular works like a charm, which ever one of the previously mentioned problems you're battling.

And if you manage to exercise some restraint and don't eat the entire mix, this batter makes probably the best brownies in the world too.

So far the pole position for best brownies in my mental spreadsheet has been held by a  Stockholm bakery called  Gateaux. This recipe I inherited from a dear friend Belinda, who has been charming palates around the world with this. Now it's my turn!

In the original instructions the batter is baked in 140° but for my feeble oven that temperature just wasn't enough. For this batch I used cashew nuts that I had dry roasted in order to really bring out the nuttiness. And a word of warning: this is some serious heavy duty stuff. For next time I'll try to see if I cut cut back on the butter.

Makes 8 big pieces (or 15 smaller)

200 g good quality dark chocolate (70-80 % cocoa)
150 g butter
2,5 dl sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs
2,5 dl flour
(1 dl cashew nuts)

Melt the butter in a pan and add chocolate. Once the chocolate too has melted, pour into a bowl containing the sugar and mix. 

Then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix again. Finally add the flour and mix until smooth. Fold in the nuts if using.

Pour the mixture into a rectangular (or square) oven dish lined with parchment and bake in 175 ° for 25-30 minutes. In case your dish is bigger, the sheet will be thinner so cut he cooking time shorter to prevent the cake from drying. The purpose is for the cake to be chewy and dense in the middle. 

The cake will still be soft when you take it out of the oven, but will get harder as it cools and sets. These are best the following day- should your self-restraint hold on for that long...

Cut to pieces right before serving. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar. Or drizzle with melted white chocolate.

The nuts are optional and can be omitted. Or they could be substituted with chunks of mint chocolate. Or white chocolate. Or bits of marshmallow. Or salted nuts. Or liquorice... Mmm, that would be yummo! You could also pour some toffee sauce on top before baking and use a skewer to draw swirly patterns into the mix for marbled effect.

(One thing I don't think I'll be experimenting with is pickled pearl onions- no matter how that would mean I'd get to finish the whole batch by myself...)

...these on the other hand did.

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