Calling these muffins instead of cupcakes is reallllyyyy pushing it IMO, but we’ll let that slide. I made these w/o the chocolate chips, with a dash of orange flower water instead of vanilla, and with pecans instead of walnuts + almonds. They were great, would definitely make again. They look super presentable with a single whole pecan on top of each muffin.
It’s impossible to watch GBBO without wanting something sweet… Cocoa powder brownies fill the void. Baking takes a bit of time (25 min), but the prep is very quick since there’s no fiddly chocolate melting. These lie in the fudge-y end of the brownie spectrum, very dark and dense. In fact, I’ve made this in a cake format before since it’s almost like flourless chocolate cake. Bake in a round tin and spoon fresh whipped cream and berries over the top. Finally, this takes substitutions pretty well. I’ve made these vegan and gluten free before (coconut oil not butter, blitzed and gelled chia seeds not eggs, GF flour). Comes out great, though they’re a bit gooier and have to cook a little longer.
Simple cocoa brownies
Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 cm (8″) square tin. In a pot large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients, melt 150 g (1 1/3 c) butter. In a small bowl, combine 250 g (1 1/4 c) sugar and 90 g (heaping 3/4 c) cocoa powder. Beat this in to the butter. Once the mix is sufficiently cool, beat in 2 eggs and a tiny splash of vanilla extract or orange flower water (optional). The mixture will come together firmly, it will be almost taffy-esque. Gently stir in 64 g (1/2 c) flour just until combined. Pour in to the lined square tin, spread it in to the corners, and bake 25 minutes. The top should be glossy when done, possibly with a few cracks. Let it cool in the tin on a rack until nearly set but still warm.
Edit 23 May 2019
Just came across Prof. Maxwell’s recipe for Churchill Brownies on his faculty page! They’re cocoa powder-based as well, so will need to give his a try. His recipe seems to make the same quantity but with (much) less butter, less cocoa powder, and more sugar. I imagine his are more traditionally brownie-esque as opposed to the nearly cake-like texture of the recipe above, we’ll see!
Edit 04 October 2019
Results are in, Prof. Maxwell’s brownies are fantastic. Metric values below for reference:
- Oven @ 175C
- 113 g butter
- 59 g cocoa
- 2 eggs
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 64 g flour
See his faculty page for the method and imperial values. It was hard to get rid of the lumps when I was bringing the mixture together, so I might try the method from the Simple cocoa brownies recipe above next time. This will probably be my go-to brownie recipe now, and the previous one will be what I use for gooey cakes.
My goodness me, homemade Victorias from Grandma and Grandpa Piper. They look pretty good considering they’ve travelled over 5,000 miles!