Easy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Yesterday I made easy traditional chocolate brownies from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book. All in the name of the Wimbledon Final! You can make these in one hour tops! I would recommend using Green & Blacks 70% dark chocolate and only cooking the brownies in the oven for 25mins at 165 degree fan oven. All ovens do vary so experiment for yourselves. The recipe suggests 30-35 mins at 170 degrees. It also depends how gooey you like your brownies! They went down really well at the BBQ I hosted yesterday and my colleagues seem pretty happy with them for a post-lunch snack!
Hummingbird Bakery brownie recipe

Paul A Young’s Sea-Salted Chocolate and Pecan Tart Recipe Review

Paul A Young sea-salted chocolate and pecan tartI was leafing through Paul A Young‘s Adventures with Chocolate recipe book and decided I HAD to bake this dark chocolate sea-salted and pecan tart (recipe online here)! The photo was just too irresistible! I made this for a week day dinner party last week but it did require baking it over two days so I’d recommend considering it for a weekend dinner party. The pastry is easy to create and using a food processor makes it super easy. I used medium yolks. I left it in the fridge for over an hour then rolled it out and left about a couple of inches spare so that the pasty overhung my dish and then cut off a bit of the excess. Next up another rest in the fridge for 15mins. I actually think it might be worth resting it for half an hour as I found my pastry did shrink a bit in the oven.

chocolate pastryI cooked the pastry at 160 degrees in a fan oven which was defo the right temperature for my oven atleast. I baked it for the full 20mins then another 8 mins and let it cool overnight. The next day I made the filling and popped it in the fridge before the dinner guests arrived. Now time to make the topping. Pour 100g of caster sugar in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Then don’t touch it. I know it sounds bonkers how can dry sugar turn liquid but it’s like magic! Keep that spoon far away from this sugar! Literally don’t touch it. Very slowly you’ll see the edges of the sugar start to liquefy and change colour. Give the pan a little shake to encourage the non-melted sugar to merge with the liquid bits. Very slowly you’ll start to get a nice golden brown caramel emerge. This Guardian article gives some nice tips on how to make different types of caramel.

chocolate and pecan tartThen pour it over halved pecans. It forms a lovely gooey caramel and quickly hardens. These are fab to sprinkle over the choc filling and it gives it a lovely crunch and texture and breaks up the monotony of the dark choc colour. Place on a big cake plate and watch your dinner guests’ eyes fill with glee! It serves 8 people as it’s very rich but boy was this a wonderful dessert!

What’s the difference between a pancake and a crepe?

This is the question my colleague asked me last week. I think he thought because I had started a cake blog, I had now become qualified to answer such questions. Clearly not. My first reaction was a crepe is thinner than a pancake. Another colleague mused that perhaps it is all about the coarseness of flour.  A quick Google search and Wikipedia look up suggests some interesting differences. BiteSizeCooking has a nice post on all the variations of pancakes around the world. Not quite as simple a question as first thought!

English pancakes are not as ‘lacy’ as French crepes apparently. Crepes are thinner than pancakes and stuffed with more filling. For a little French regional variation, a Breton galette from Normandy or Brittany is made of buckwheat flour and is large and thin and only cooked on one side (no flipping fun then!).

So there you have it. You’re armed with pancake/crepe knowledge – you never know when that question might turn up in the next pub quiz!

And which pancake flavours went down a treat at my flat last week for Pancake Day? After the consumption of 30 pancakes between 6 of us, the votes have been counted.  For savoury – German salami, goat’s cheese and sundried tomato with some salad on the side (I thought it best to pretend we were atleast trying to be vaguely healthy).  And for a sweet and sugary fix? Melted dark chocolate and banana. It went down a storm. Next time I will know to buy double the chocolate and bananas!

Feel free to let me know what you think is the difference between a pancake or crepe if I missed something and suggest other cool pancake flavour combos!

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