Brownies 24.01.2009

I made these brownies – a Nigella recipe recommended by my mother – for my 30th birthday party, and they stressed me out a bit, because the first batch cooked in 35 minutes and the second batch took more like 50 minutes, maybe even more. But they’re really delicious and worth stuffing up a couple of times by way of experimentation (the spoon-lickings make up for a lot). The ingredient list is kind of horrifying; you just have to pretend that there ISN’T half a kilo of sugar in there.


  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 375g best-quality dark chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300g chopped walnuts / hazelnuts / choc-chips / whatevs / nothing
  • 1 tin measuring 33 x 23 x 5 ½ cm


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your baking tin with parchment or foil or something (bottom and sides).

Melt the butter and chocolate together slowly in a large heavy-based saucepan - one that's going to have room for all the other ingredients eventually. In a bowl or laaarge measuring jug, beat the eggs and the sugar together with the vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Allow the chocolate to cool a little before mixing in the eggs and sugar, followed by the flour and finally the nuts / choc-chips, and then pour the whole lot into your lined baking tin.

Nigella says to bake for 25 minutes, but mine aren't ever anywhere near ready after 25 minutes - perhaps it's because I rarely use heaps of nuts, and perhaps it's because my baking tin is quite heavy, but I think that 35-40 minutes is probably closer to the mark, even in my fan-forced oven. You're looking for the top to be light and slightly speckly, and the inside to still be a bit soft and gooey; remember that they'll continue to cook after they're removed from the oven.

Allow to cool in the pan, then slice them up. You can add candles to individual brownies piled upon a plate for a nice, ad-hoc, easy-to-share birthday cake.

File under dessert

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Virginia makes web things and food things. Mainly bread. Oh, bread.

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