Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brownies from the Domestic Goddess ~

This is a lovely idea--brownies used for a birthday cake with brightly-burning candles. The idea came from a picture in Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Brownies are always easy to make and always delicious, especially with a dollop of ice cream (Remember Ireland's fudge pie?). The introduction is from Nigella herself:
"I don't understand why people don't make brownies all the time--they're so easy and so wonderful. My friend Justine Picardie gave me the idea for setting the brownies so gloriously alight when she asked me to make them for her husband's birthday. Ever since then, I've copied the idea: brownies are much quicker to make than a cake, and they look so wonderful piled up in a rough-and-tumble pyramid spiked with birthday candles. And I'd much rather eat a brownie than a piece of birthday cake any day; I think most people would." So here is the recipe!


1 2/3 cups soft unsalted butter                                             1 teaspoon salt
13 ounces best bittersweet chocolate                                  1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts
6   large eggs                                                                         pan measuring approximately
1 tablespoon vanilla extract                                                  13 X 9 X 2 1/2 inches
1 2/3 cups sugar                                                                     birthday candles and holders,
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour                                                    if appropriate

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your brownie pan--I think it's worth lining the sides as well as the base--with foil or parchment.
     Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan. In a bowl or large wide-mouthed measuring cup, beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
     When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then nuts and flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined pan.
      Bake for about 25 minutes. When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey. And even with such a big batch you do need to keep alert, keep checking: the difference between gungy brownies and dry brownies is only a few minutes; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.
     Makes a maximum of 48.                                                 


You can really vary brownies as you wish: get rid of the walnuts, or halve them and make up their full weight with dried cherries; or replace them with other nuts--peanuts, brazilnuts, hazelnuts--add shredded coconut or white chocolate chips; try stirring in some Jordan's Original Crunchy cereal. I had high hopes for chic, after-dinner pistachio-studded brownies, but found the nuts get too soft and waxy, when what you need is a little crunchy contrast.

So that's it for today...go forth and have a party with candles on your brownies! Everyone will be surprised and pleased with your efforts.



  1. This recipe is a must try.May I ask what chocolate that you prefer using when making these yummy looking Brownies Mimi?

  2. Well, Sherrie, I think Giradelli is a very good chocolate. They now have the chips in stores and a store like Walmart has them so much cheaper than most other grocery stores. If you use Hersey's or Nestle's, I would use the darker chocolate to make sure they're good and rich. I hope you get to make them and that you enjoy them very much!