Last year I made the weekly pilgrimage to my friend Mandy’s house to watch Project Runway Australia on her pay TV. One night Mandy offered me a brownie which she described as a very basic, store cupboard brownie. It was sensational and I got the recipe straight away. Come to think of it, I spent more time over at Mandy’s copying out her recipes than watching the show – I think that is a sign I chose the wrong industry to work in all those years ago!
Mandy described this brownie perfectly – a store cupboard brownie. If you don’t have butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and flour in your kitchen then you probably need to go shopping and stock up for emergency brownie baking sessions.
The original recipe calls for pecans. I have never added pecans. I like to throw in roasted macadamia nuts, a handful of dessicated coconut, a few drops of coconut essence and a chopped up block of Cadbury Top Deck chocolate. I churn that brownie out so often I don’t think about quantities and you really can’t stuff it up. Just make sure you follow the basic brownie recipe, minus the pecans, and then throw in whatever takes your fancy. I have been wanting to try it with some orange zest or a splash of cointreau and some almonds – will try this and report back.
Keep this recipe in mind when you want a quick dessert. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream and a handful of raspberries. Or coconut ice-cream if you can find some – I love anything with coconut in it.
Yesterday I mixed up 3 batches of the brownies with a handful of dessicated coconut and 2 blocks of chocolate, chopped, and divided them between two 20cm x 30cm tins. I needed to supply nutless baked goods for both the election stall at school and for a preschool cake stall this afternoon. It is very quick to whip up and if you make extra it will happily freeze.
Thank-you Mandy, my fellow foodie! This brownie is a classic. I am most evangelical about it! I hope this recipe will be made by my children and my children’s children and my children’s …
155g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped (replace with as little or as much as you want of different nuts, chopped up chocolate etc)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Line a small slice tin.
Melt butter and mix with the sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Stir in the vanilla essence and beat until creamy.
Add sifted cocoa, flour and salt and mix. Toss in the pecans and give one final stir. Pour into a tin and bake for 35 – 45 minutes. (The recipe actually says for 55 minutes but I like my brownies quite squidgy. Keep checking – you want it dry and cracking on top but still squidgy inside but not gooey).