*As seen on Easy Living*
My search for the perfect brownie recipe has been long and fraught but it turns out, the key to that elusive soft centre is to accept that brownies don’t play by the rules. When you test a batch of brownies, the knife should never come out clean, in fact, in the words of Nigel Slater, ‘if the skewer comes out clean, then I’m afraid you’ve blown it.’ And while I’m sure that the success of this particular batch comes down to knowing this, I like to think that the addition of a Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt played it’s part too.
This recipe is based on Lorraine Pascale’s Cookies & Cream Fudge Brownies from her fantastic book Baking Made Easy. I’m sure these are amazing but I follow the Slater school of thought that a brownie should just be about the chocolate, so I adapted the recipe to feed my Green & Blacks addiction.
for the brownies…
- 165g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 260g Green & Blacks 70% dark chocolate (2 x 100g bars for melting and 2 x 30g bars broken into chunks)
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 165g caster sugar (use light brown sugar if you like your brownies fudgey)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (Green & Blacks natch!)
- Pinch of salt
for the Ziggy lightning bolts…
- 1 packet of red ready to roll fondant icing
- 1 packet of blue ready to roll fondant icing
- edible glitter and edible glue
you will need – 20cm square baking tin
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C and then line your tin with baking parchment. It’s super helpful when it comes to lifting out the brownies if you leave the paper overlapping the sides a little on each side. Melt the butter in a pan then remove the from the heat and grate 200g of your chocolate into the melted butter, leaving it to soften before stirring to combine.
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy. This is a great tip from Lorraine, as you now add the sugar into the eggs, pour it in around the sides of the mix rather than straight into the middle, this way you won’t knock out any of the air you have whisked into the eggs. Add the sugar like this in two batches, whisking as you go, then pour in the chocolate (again around the sides) and whisk to combine.
- I swap to a spatula or wooden spoon at this point to fold in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Once the dry ingredients have been incorporated, break the remaining chocolate into large chunks and scatter them into the mix. Pour the mixture into your tin and pop it in the oven for 25-30mins. I’d start checking on them at 25mins as you really need them to still be slightly underdone in the middle when you take them out. If the centre is still liquid give them 3 min bursts in the oven before checking again. Remember you want some goo attached to that skewer! Here’s the crucial part, when you take them out, leave the brownies to cool completely in their tin to guarantee a gooey centre when you come to cut them into squares.
- Ziggy time! To make the lightning bolts, I draw out a bolt that I’m happy with on baking parchment and use this as my template. Roll out some red fondant icing and, using a sharp knife, cut out as many bolts as you have brownies. It’s important to remember that fondant icing is a temperamental beast and will dry out quickly, so once you’ve cut out your lightning bolts, cover them in clingfilm while you work on the next step.
- Roll out some blue fondant and cut out thin strips to be added to one side of each lightning bolt. I know this is fiddly but I think without that flash of blue they are just not Ziggy enough, so once you have your little strips, moisten them either with water or edible glue and stick them down one side of each bolt. All that remains now is to cover each bolt in edible glue and dust them with your chosen glitter. There are plenty of colours to choose from so go as glam as you dare, I’m sure Ziggy wouldn’t mind. Stick a bolt onto each brownie square using the glue and voila, Bowie brownies.
You can always make the Ziggy decorations the day before the brownies as they do take some time and keep great overnight. Just be careful handling them once they’ve dried out as they become pretty fragile.