Everyone in my family has their own ‘thing’. Something that, should the occasion, celebration or the occasional Sunday call for it, can be whipped up without fear of catastrophe, sinking middles or soggy bottoms. For my sister, her thing is Focaccia. She can whip up a mean rosemary-spiked and salt slathered creation in no time, perfect for dipping in oil and balsamic. My Mam, although fab at generally everything, has perfected the dessert table with her chocolate nut slab. A showstopper at my graduation party, it is the epitome of die-and-go-to-chocolate-heaven.
My Dad however is the brownie master. I gave up long ago trying to make brownies; always left with cakey, dry attempts that were frankly unrecognisable as the fudgy American dessert/cake crossover. Dad’s brownies are soft, chewy and filled with a burst of…beetroot. Yes, it sounds strange, but mix shredded pink beets into a thick chocolate batter and you will be left with a gorgeous pudding that is perfect with a dollop of ice cream and a glass of vino to end a meal.
So it feels like something of a betrayal for going against the Brownie Holy Grail and making this marmalade and walnut-filled version. The usual suspects are all there; crisp, cracked top, fudgy middle and soft outsides. A snip of nuttiness from roughly chopped walnuts, a semi-sweet bitterness from the plain chocolate and the utter decadence of using real butter (don’t use Stork here kids, its just sacrilege). But the inclusion of tangy marmalade adds a denser texture, a zingier taste and a hint of Terry’s Chocolate Orange. A simple piped white chocolate daisy finishes the brownie off, becoming a pretty little dessert that packs a hell of a taste punch. Sorry Dad, but you could make my signature Lemon Meringue Pie and we’ll call it quits, kay?
Makes 16 Brownies
You Will Need
150g soft brown sugar
150g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
100g unsalted butter
25g walnuts, chopped
100g self raising flour, sifted
3 tablespoons coarse orange marmalade
40g good quality white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180oc/160oc fan/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment and set aside. Using a hand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined and frothy , then set aside. Add the chocolate and butter to a clean bowl and microwave for two minutes, stirring halfway through. Add to the eggs and sugar and stir well. Mix in the walnuts, flour and marmalade then pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes then cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the brownie slab from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 16 squares.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through, then spoon into a paper piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe simple daisy shapes onto baking parchment. Try to create more than 16, as a few will inevitably break. Place the daisies in the fridge to set, then carefully peel or lift off the baking parchment and place on top of each brownie.
Serve with tea, coffee or a glass of Prosecco for a decadent afternoon tea.