Classic Fudge Brownies

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Classic fudge browniesDo you like yours fudgy and soft in the centre, or cake-like and full of nuts?  There are probably more variations on the basic brownie than any other chocolate treat. These are definitely the gooey version.  Brownies need no decorating, serve as they are with perhaps a dusting of cocoa or icing sugar.

Makes : 15  –  Prep time : 20 mins  –  Cook time : 25 mins

Ingredients:  300g (10oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped (look for chocolate with at least 50% cocoa solids); 300g (10oz) unsalted butter, chopped; 5 free-range eggs; 400g (13oz) caster sugar; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 150g (5oz) plain flour; 50g (1 ¾ oz) cocoa powder; ½ tsp baking powder; pinch of salt; 100g (3 ½ oz) dark chocolate chips

  1. Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Grease a shallow 20 x 30cm (8 x 12 in) baking tin and line with baking paper (leave a little overhanging the two long sides to help remove the brownies from the tin).
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water).  All to cool.
  3. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat for about 4 minutes or until thick, pale and fluffy.  Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and fold in using a large metal spoon, until smooth.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.  Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.
  5. Bake for 30-35 mins or until the top has formed a crust. It should be firm to the touch but still a bit moist in the centre.  Allow to cool in the tin, then remove and cut into squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Banoffee Pie

A crisp biscuit base filled with the delicious combination of chewy toffee, bananas, cream and chocolate, this pudding is a real winner! The filling takes a little time and attention to make – it needs to be stirred continuously to prevent it from burning – but it’s well worth the effort.

Serves: 10; Cost: £3.20; Time to prepare: 20 mins; Time to cook: 23-33 mins; Cals per portion: 510

Ingredients: Base: 225g (8oz) oaty biscuits like hobnobs crushed; 75g (3oz) butter, melted
Filling and Topping: 405g can skimmed sweetened condensed milk; 100g (4oz) butter; 45ml (3 tbsp) maple syrup; 300ml (1/2 pt) double cream; 2 small bananas, peeled and sliced; 15ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice; cocoa powder and chocolate curls

1. To make the base, place the crushed biscuits in a large bowl and stir in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly then press mixture into the base and up the sides of a 20cm (8in) greased loosed-based fluted flan tin. Chill while making the pie filling.
2. To make the filling, place the condensed milk and the butter in a heavy-based pan and heat, stirring all the time, until the butter has melted. Simmer very gently, stirring all the time for 20-30 mins until the mixture thickens and turns a caramel colour.
3. Stir the maple syrup and 30ml (2 tbsp) of the double cream into the mixture and leave to cool for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Then spread the cooled mixture into the prepared biscuit case and level the surface. Leave to cool completely.
4. Toss the banana slices in the lemon juice then arrange them over the cooled filling. Whip the rest of the cream until softly peaking, then spoon in large swirls over the bananas. Dust thickly with the cocoa powder and decorate with the chocolate curls.