Culinary Corner by Gemma Byrne

Heart Melting Brownies

These brownies would make a delicious finish to a romantic Valentine’s meal for two; crunchy on the outside with a gooey chewy centre and a really strong chocolate hit. They can be made well in advance so you can spend time gazing into each other’s eyes and not slaving over a hot stove.

185g good quality dark chocolate
185g butter
3 large eggs
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
50g white chocolate (chopped into chunks)
50g pecans or almonds (chopped)

Grease a 20cm square, 5cm deep baking tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan assisted)/180 degrees (conventional)/gas mark 4.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a barely simmering pot of water. When the mixture is completely melted set aside to cool to room temperature.

Weigh out the flour, cocoa and baking powder and sieve these dry ingredients into a second bowl.

In a third bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract using an electric beater. Beat for about 5 – 10 mins until the mixture is pale, thick and has tripled in volume.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold gently together briefly. Add the sieved dry ingredients, the chopped nuts and white chocolate chunks. Fold the mixture together being very careful not to knock the air out. Once the mixture is fully combined pour into the greased tin. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 35 – 45 mins. To check if they’re ready give the tin a shake and if it’s still wobbly in the middle it will need to continue cooking. You’re looking for a shiny, slightly cracked looking top and a sticky centre. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before cutting into 16 squares. Serve slightly warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some fresh fruit for an indulgent dessert. Also delicious served on it’s own with a coffee.