The tree is up and decorated, the turkey and goose are nearly ready to be collected and there’s just time to squeeze in one last recipe before the family arrives for Christmas.
Make these chocolatey, fudgy, gently spiced brownies as an alternative to a traditional fruit cake, for a dessert or just for a sweet treat with a cup of coffee or tea … they’re versatile enough to fit in pretty much anywhere.
I hope you all have a very happy holiday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Thanks for the sharing of food and friendship … see you after Christmas!
200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
4 eggs, preferably free range
150g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
30g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 or 2 tsp ground ginger, to taste
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground cardamom
80g chopped pecans or walnuts
Zest of 1 orange
Icing sugar, to garnish (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 22cm square brownie tin with baking or silicone paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until doubled in size. If you lift the whisks out of the mixture you should be able to see ribbons on the surface as it drips back into the bowl.
When the chocolate is cool enough, pour it into the eggs. It will sink to the bottom, so using a rubber spatula, gently scoop it up and mix it into the eggs with a figure of eight motion. Try not to knock all the air out.
Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and spices into the bowl and mix in again using the same gentle figure of eight movement. Fold in the chopped nuts and pour the mixture into the lined tin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is shiny and cracked but the inside is still slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the tin.
If you like, take Christmas stencils (trees, reindeer, stars, snowflakes, whatever takes your fancy), lay them on top of the brownie, then dust with icing sugar. Remove the stencils and serve, cut into squares.