Saturday, 27 December 2014

Blue Peter chocolate brownies, homemade chocolate slabs, and other Christmas foodie gifts

You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd abandoned this blog two posts in. The (very abbreviated version of the) truth is that I got really busy at the beginning of December, basically didn't cook anything, and then as soon as the term was over I came down with a cold which turned into a mystery virus which turned into full-blown tonsillitis. I'm only just getting over it now, and my diet for the past two days has consisted mainly of meat and chocolate.

While I was suffering with what can only be described as the feeling of swallowing shards of glass covered in even smaller shards of glass, I did manage to bake some lovely foodie presents for my family. Of course, I didn't take any pictures of them all packaged up because it was basically dark at 4pm and I was hopped up on painkillers. I did, however, think "I'll take pictures on Christmas Eve before I give them to people" and then was so ill on Christmas Eve that all I could think was "fucking motherfucker, can I take any more ibuprofen without getting a stomach ulcer at this point?".

So instead I'll furnish you with some links to the recipes for the nice foodie presents I made, and you will have to imagine them packed in little cellophane bags. (I ran out of cellophane bags towards the end so some people got some artfully packaged Morrisons sandwich bags instead).

Handmade food gifts always go down so well at Christmas. Even if you're a bit strapped for cash it's a lovely token and people always appreciate something you've made, even if it looks like your dog trod in it. 

Crumbly English fudge (everyone I gave this to was floored by how delicious it is. THANKS NIGELLA) Crumbly, buttery, just how I'd hoped. None of this chewy American fudge rubbish that you get on Pinterest or in the pick and mix in Wilko.




Parmesan and rosemary sabl├ęs  - buttery but in a different way; the savoury token in my gift box.

Decorated chocolate slabs

OK, no recipe here. Just melt some chocolate (double boiler method works best), pour into moulds, smooth out with a palette knife, then sprinkle over toppings. I chopped up some of the fudge I made, some chocolate brownies, hazelnuts and raisins. For more topping ideas you could take a look at Martha Stewart or Hotel Chocolat.

The finished product!
For the mould, I used a brownie pan which I divided into sections using foil folded into thick strips. I then lined these sections with foil. For a more refined, professional look, I'd suggest using a silicone mould.
Avocados not included. You'll see I actually lined the whole pan with foil and then put the dividers in - this didn't work at all, so I lined each section with foil for the next ones.

 Blue Peter Bonfire Brownies

These brownies are the stuff of legend in my family. Since I first got the recipe from Blue Peter when I was about... 9? they have been given as gifts, made on rainy days, made for parties, you name it. We've managed to lose the recipe several times, so I think it's now loitering on a faded sheet of fax paper in a ringbinder somewhere. These brownies are gooey, moreish and generally delightful. They're also delicious frozen, which I discovered when I used to sneak them from the freezer when my mum wasn't looking.
I also made them for a Christmas party a couple of years ago, where I topped them with melted chocolate and crushed candy canes.
No picture for these ones either, I'm afraid, but I solemnly swear I'll upload one next time I make them. Trust me when I say they're flipping fabulous.

Ingredients

225g golden caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
40g cocoa powder
50g self raising flour
50g chocolate chips

Method

  1. Grease/line a brownie pan and preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat the eggs with the sugar in a medium to large bowl until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, take off the heat and then sift in the cocoa powder.
  4. Add the butter mixture to the sugar mixture, and mix well.
  5. Sift in the flour and add the chocolate chips. Mix well (again).
  6. Pour into the pan and bake for around 18-20 minutes (depends on how thick they are - keep any eye on them and don't let them burn!). 





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