The name of this recipe just lured me in because who could go past the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and salt. I know adding salt to desserts has become a bit trendy in recent years but as a salt addict, I will be very sad when this trend disappears as no doubt it will. I recently read a magazine article that said salted caramel was so last year but I don’t care, I am with Nigella here when she says “Let them fuss about the fads – as long as I can be left with the food” at http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/my-love-affair-with-salted-caramel.
I initially planned to make these brownies for a family barbecue as my niece is a fellow chocolate aficionado. But after chatting to my brother and discovering my niece had yet to be exposed to nuts, I thought I would give it a miss. I certainly didn’t want to be the person to cause my parents only grandchild to go into anaphylactic shock. Luckily my brother and his wife have just had a son so we now have a spare.
But this recipe has been lingering at the back of my mind, teasing me to make it. We have a multicultural day coming up at work, where people are supposed to bring food from their family’s culture. Whilst the brownies aren’t particularly British which is I guess what I would call my heritage, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity for making some serious baked heaven.
I normally don’t make desserts at home as I don’t have the baking skills to scale down a recipe. I find ingredients are so much more finicky in baking. And if I do bake, I end up consuming way too much of a good thing. But I couldn’t just make these for multicultural day, I had to do a trial run, didn’t I?
No modifying here to the amount of ingredients but I did change a few of the ingredients slightly:
- I used regular milk rather than the almond as I had that in the fridge.
- I used a low glycaemic index (GI) sugarcane sugar rather than buying different sugar as I don’t use sugar that much in my cooking and have no need to add more sugar to my pantry. I also like the idea of low GI sugar as I can pretend that I am eating something vaguely healthy.
- I used Cadbury melts in dark chocolate as there was nothing called semi-sweet at the supermarket. I think they are similar to semi-sweet which from my reading is an American term. More info here on chocolate from the Joy of Baking. I am suspicious about how accurate this article is when it talks about chocolate being stored properly lasting years. They have obviously never left chocolate in my house. No hope of it lasting years no matter how well it is stored. (And nope no freebies from Cadburys – I paid for these myself).
I made a full batch as that is what I would need to make for multicultural day. I even bought a new appropriately sized baking pan to make the brownies in, which I think shows my commitment to serving sugary salty goodness to my work colleagues. The recipe is here:
So how did I go? These are very very good. But I couldn’t get the salt to stick to the brownies. The recipe says to pop it on as soon as you whip them out of the oven which I did but the salt just did not want to meld itself to the brownie. So that was a bit disappointing, but other than that the brownies are delicious and the peanut butter helps to make sure they are lovely and moist. I find a lot of brownies (here in Australia at least) are quite dry and not that good. As the recipe says, these are a quite fudgy brownies and I think that is definitely a good thing. The brownies kept well for the few days they were in the house and I think they aged well. They seemed to get just a bit fudgier and even tastier after the first day.
I wonder if you could put the salt in before you start baking? Would it dissolve and if it did, would it matter if the brownies still had that salty hit? The salt on top does look pretty but some of the brownies were a bit saltless where the salt had fallen off. Looks are important but not as important as me getting my hit of salt and chocolate.
I definitely won’t be making these again before the multicultural day. I did give some away to friends, but the friend that I like giving baked goods to has a son with a nut allergy so I had to keep quite a few. I managed to eat a very large quantity myself. These are not things I can have around the house on a regular basis and remain in a healthy weight range. It was getting to the point where I was pondering if the brownies were a legitimate breakfast food. Which of course they are but perhaps not everyday.
Update: I forgot to mention how I melted the chocolate. Melting chocolate can be a delicate operation (it can do nasty things if not melted properly) and I wasn’t sure if any of my bowls were heatproof – the recipe uses a heatproof bowl. So I just popped the chocolate in a smaller saucepan than the one the water was in and did it that way. The main thing is to keep the water out of the chocolate so a tight fit to stop any splatter is good. Water can make the chocolate a bit grainy and yucky. I didn’t have a tight fit so was just very careful. You can also microwave chocolate to melt. Other tips are available here from the Kitchn.