Phew. It’s March. As we can see outside, it’s trying to be spring and failing hard.
The last months went a bit in a complete blur to be honest with you. I’m still recovering from having to quit what I thought would be my dream job and recently went back to my previous employer, taking a job as a pastry chef.
As we all know by now, pastry is by far not my favourite thing to do, I don’t like how things can go totally wrong by missing 2 grams of baking powder or a different oven and the fact that you can barely rescue what you’ve created when it went wrong somewhere along the way.
But I am incredibly glad, to work with said employer again and for the sake of working for them I am willing to be a pastry chef for now. Still half hoping someone turns around to me one day and says “Jana, we have this amazing job in recipe development with your name on it!” and me getting out of my chef whites and into the office quicker than anyone can blink.
Well, a woman is allowed to have her humble dreams, right? The other day I woke up all happy and excited because I had dreamt I would work for Kat from “Rock n Roll Bride” for the very precise number of £14.30 per hour as a bridal fashion advisor and coach for disturbed alternative brides. It was a bad moment when I realised a) that never happened and b) I only had 90 minutes of sleep left before I had to get up at five a.m.
Excuse me rambling, but I decided to tell you more about myself before I get to the recipes. Oh, excuse me, I haven’t told you what recipe I’m gonna show you?
It’s gonna be brownies and raspberry blondies. Yay.
Soooo, after what was another super hard week I decided to do some baking over the weekend, which usually means I spend a lot of money on products, fuck it all up, throw it all away, have a little freak out where I question every decision I made in the last decade… and then try again. Sounds made up? I wish it was. I really wish it was.
Here is a wonderful recipe for brownies with a hint of coconut. Oh these are 100% not healthy whatsoever, but they are easy, work and are a nice treat after a week of family emergencies, endless exams, getting your space ships blown up by robots and a full-time job you don’t enjoy as much as you would winning the lottery.
140 g of unsalted butter
100 g of coconut oil
300 g of dark chocolate
4 large eggs
300g of brown sugar
100 g of flour (yup, not a typo)
50 g of desiccated coconut
5 g of baking powder
about 50 g of chocolate and a teaspoon of coconut oil for the glaze
An oven, a brownie tray.
Patience – ahaha, skills I don’t have- as these wonderful delicious brownies need to cool down before you can eat them, otherwise you just have a sticky mess on a plate. Luckily, you could turn around and just call it a chocolate lava cake, but that’s not the point, is it?
Create a water bath by boiling water in a pot and place a metal bowl on top of it with the butter, the coconut oil and the chocolate inside. The water starts boiling and the steam melts the mix. Make sure no water gets inside the bowl and stir it every once in a while. Once the water started boiling, you can reduce the temperature and take care of the sugar and eggs.
The bakery product you’re attempting to make is rather dense than fluffy, it will have the consistency of a chocolate bar with some cake around it, but you still want it as light as possible. This you can achieve by beating the eggs with the sugar, until they are light and fluffy and pretty much tripled in size. Although you could do it by hand, a normal kitchen mixer can do the job for you easily. Check the temperature of your chocolate mixture and let it cool down until you can touch the bowl without burning yourself. That is important, as we’re not trying to make chocolate scrambled eggs.
Mix your chocolate with the eggs/sugar mix and then fold in the flower until you get a smooth brown dough without any lumps or bubbles. It should look like mousse au chocolate and be more firm than liquid.
Line a brownie tray with baking paper and fill in the dough. It should fit pretty much exactly into your tray. To not having to mess around with the baking paper too much, the easiest way to handle it is to crumble it into a ball, unfold it and slightly wet the tray you would like to put it into. It’s an old “Jamie Oliver hack” and saves time and nerves.
Bake your brownie for 40-45 minutes at 170 degrees C. Again, every oven is different, so you’re aiming for a crack free surface with a slight wobble in the centre. Cracks don’t change the taste, but the brownie is best when it’s just baked rather than overbaked. Remember, you can always pretend it was meant as a lava cake, but you can’t recover from it being dry and slightly dusty.
Now comes the worst part: Let it cool down for at least four hours, then cut it. You can glaze the brownies by warming up the leftover chocolate with a teaspoon of coconut oil and then just pour it over the surface of your brownies.
Brownies are happy in any company, cream, vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, fruit salad… whatever you think is best. Although a fruit salad sounds a bit like an excuse to me. Own your rough week. Enjoy!