I've become a chocoholic it seems. I mean I didn't mind a piece of nice chocolate now and then before, but now I just have this indefinable passion for it. The kind known from cartoons, you know, when something desirable starts twirling in front of a characters eyes. Well, I get twirling chocolate quite often. And it seems that the newfound passion kind of engulfs other cocoa based stuff as well - stuff I used to hold in contempt. I never picked cocoa / chocolate ice-cream or custard over vanilla or caramel. Apparently, however, in terms of world history, what I've got is not a new thing :)...
... Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical tree, Theobroma cacao. Theobroma is the Greek term for 'food of the gods.' In Aztec society chocolate was a food of the gods, reserved for priests, warriors and nobility. The Aztecs used cacao beans to make a hot, frothy and bitter beverage called xocolatl. Xocolatl was a sacred concoction that was associated with fertility and wisdom. It was also thought to have stimulating and restorative properties. The bitter drink was first introduced to Europe in 1528. However, it was not until 1876 that milk, cocoa powder and cocoa butter were combined to form what we now know as chocolate.
(above pic from here)
Anyway, I'm hoping the whole sweet-tooth thing is temporary and will pass, but until it does, here's another chocoholic pleasing post.
Of-course it's a well known fact that in terms of baking and hot desserts - chocolate is nye impossible to beat. There was a good column on food envy once in Olive magazine, where the author explained it nicely. Nothing can beat a whiff of hot chocolate coming from the kitchen. And brownies, if they're the right kind (moist, chewy, dark and not messed with by adding unnecessary distractions as nuts or fruits), are reigning the universe of the choco-desserts. Of-course fondants are great, as are chocolate loaf-cakes and the like, but it's hard to beat a brownie.
So far - from my experience with brownies - I believed, that they are the only type of food that is better when they're made from a store-bought pack than from scratch. But now, it seems I've found a recipe that makes brownies, that are AS GOOD AS (mind you, still not better) than the ones that come from the sachet (and are no doubt filled with most of the Mendeleyev's table).
It all started with my ever-growing trust in Nigella. So far every cake I've tried from her baking book has been a great success. So I went for her brownies recipe as well but made some adjustments. She used plain white sugar, I divided the amount up into three and used white sugar, molasses and dark sugar-syrup. I thought it'd add chewiness and stickiness and I think it did. And I skipped the nuts. They just take up space where there should be more chocolate.
Really, really good brownies:
(makes a huge amount, good for a party of 10)
375 g butter
300 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
150 gr unrefined molasses sugar
200 gr white sugar
1 dl dark sugar syrup
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C and line the brownie tin.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan or a pot, add in the molasses when melted. Beat the eggs with the white sugar and vanilla. Mix the flour with salt.
Let the chocolate and butter mixture cool a little, then beat in with the eggs and then the flour-mix. Add the syrup and beat to combine smoothly, scrape into the lined brownie tin.
Bake for about 25 minutes. The top should have dried a bit but the middle should still be dark and dense and gooey. They will keep cooking for a while when you take them out, so better a bit earlier than later. Dried up brownies are murdered brownies.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and send an apology note to your liver :)