I tentatively write this recipe up as a ‘mother’s day’ blog post. But I won’t lecture how we should all be thankful for our mothers. The thing is, mothering is an act. It’s not a giving-birth right. Not in my opinion anyway. READ MORE
So youthful types get a bad press in general, no? I know I find myself crossing the road from large groups of teens, as if they’re a dangerous species, liable to snap and scratch. We’re conditioned to think of teens as feral, difficult and just plain bad. Well, I feel guilty about my presumptions after my experience with a carriage of silver drunks at the weekend.
A large group of men all over the age of 55 monopolised the carriage. (Actually, I am being kind. They were 60 if they were a day). They were very, very drunk. So far down the path to a a hangover that they couldn’t stand without help. They were shouting, swearing and I’m afraid to tell you, vomiting. One man, a delightful specimen, was telling the whole carriage what a dreadful woman his wife was. Guess who picked him up at the station?
The teenage girl next to me sat reading a classic novel, earphones in, occasionally rolling her eyes. I’m not sure whether to be impressed at their joie de vivre or appalled as she was. The only answer to the trauma of this very long journey of being terrorised by inebriated middle aged men was to make a batch of these brownies just as soon as I got home.
425g tin black pitted cherries in syrup, drained to 213g
2 tbsp kirsch
125g salted butter
400g dark chocolate
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g dark soft brown sugar
65g castor sugar
100g ground almonds
3 large eggs, at room temperature
85g morello cherry conserve
300mls double cream
70g icing sugar
250g fresh cherries, stalks on
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line a 25 x 20cm tin with non-stick paper. Drain the tinned cherries and discard the syrup then heat in a small pan with 2 tbsp of the kirsch for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place 325g chocolate and the butter into a medium saucepan and heat on a very low heat, stirring all the time until dissolved and molten then remove from the heat. (If you are worried about the chocolate going grainy then use the bain marie method). Put the rest of the chocolate in the fridge.
Add the vanilla extract, both sugars, almonds, the eggs and the tinned cherries to the molten chocolate and butter and stir well. Pour into the tin and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top of the brownie has formed a crust but there’s still a little squidge left in the middle. (The sides will be a little better cooked.) It may have puffed up a bit but will sink after removing from the oven. Cool on a wire rack still in the tin until completely cool.
Once cooled spread the top with a very thin layer of conserve, ensuring you spread all the way to the edges. Then whip the double cream with the icing sugar to medium peaks. Spread over the top of the jam covered brownie. Make some chocolate shavings with the refrigerated dark chocolate by pushing a sharp non serrated knife across the top. Decorate with fresh stalk-on cherries and chocolate shavings.
Slice with a hot knife (dipped in boiling water) for perfect little squares.
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I saw a friend this week. We went to school together many years ago. She gave birth to her first born child just two days before my third son arrived.
We descended on her, all 5 of us, snotty nosed and covered in germs. The way you are when you have a 3 and a 5 year old as well as a baby; there’s no time for antibacterial hand spray. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it, really I did, but then I couldn’t help myself.
I committed the mortal sin of trying to impart my knowledge on her. It’s exactly the kind of thing that used to drive me to distraction as a first time mother. Some friend who just happened to have won the prize for reproducing sooner and with more vigour than me would rock up, pronounce everything was actually really easy once you have a few kids and advise I basically slightly ignore my baby and let him cry a little sometimes. Oh and sleep when the baby sleeps. I’m as bad as all the others. It comes from a friendly well meaning place of course, but really it’s just plain annoying. (Note. To Self.) Next time I see her I will make her these brownies as way of an apology and stop being such a know it all.
Makes 12 little brownies but you can cut them up smaller or bigger
325g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g light brown sugar
65g castor sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
100g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line a 20 x 20cm square tin with non stick paper. Place the chocolate and butter into a medium saucepan and heat on a very low heat, stirring all the time until dissolved and molten. (If you are too scared to do this and worried about the chocolate going all grainy then use the bain marie method).
Add all of the other ingredients, mix well until well combined and pour into the tin. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the top of the brownie has formed a crust but there’s still a little squidge left in the middle. (The sides will be a little better cooked.) It may have puffed up a bit but will sink after removing from the oven. Cool on a wire rack still in the tin until completely cool. Slice with a hot knife (dipped in boiling water) for perfect little squares that happily accompany a nice cup of tea.
I’m a mum of 3 boys, a cookbook writer and also a finalist on the 2011 Great British Bake Off.
I’ve decided to record the recipes I use, partly to save them somewhere and partly in case someone else might like to use them...