A little parcel was swiftly delivered to the office last week: a gift of some Green & Black’s chocolates to have a play with. Awesome. How did they know I love free chocolate? 😉
Having guests to dinner on Thursday night, I did some browsing through the cookbooks… perhaps chocolate pots? not enough setting time.. nothing where chocolate would be overly disguised, this is lush organic chocolate here, people!… maybe self-saucing puddings? With a vague idea, flatemate Gen and I set off for a morning of errands, first stop, the newly opened Surry Hills Library and Community Centre (oh, how do I love thee? let me count the ways! I am unashamedly: 1. a big fan of public buildings, 2. a public servant to the core, 3. fanatical about sustainably and well designed spaces, and 4. my father’s daughter) for some free WIFI and general archi-philia. If you haven’t been yet, go, immediately. I mean, if you’re in Sydney and are into that kind of thing 😉
Anyway, at the Library Gen found a copy of the Divine Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with a Heart by Linda Collister for Divine Chocolates, which has a whole section on Brownies, and our mind was made. Brownies would allow the Green & Black’s chocolate to shine through, and I could use both the 70% and the white chocolate in one dessert, with no fussy layering or 2 batters! AND, I could bring out my new (old?) 1940’s swift-whip – Miss C and I recently became the proud owners of a matching pair of apple green handled swift-whips circa 1940 and 1950 respectively (see this ad!), and I was itching for an opportunity to try mine out! Brownies: the solution to so many of life’s problems, as already discussed previously on the puku… what can’t brownies do?!
I checked out the Divine book and studied their recipes, but didn’t follow any – theirs varied so much in ratios of chocolate bar to eggs to flour etc I felt pretty confidant making my own way.
Green & Black’s 70% Brownie with White Chocolate and Macadamia
Melt a 100g bar of Green and Black’s 70% chocolate and set aside. cream 125g softened butter with 250g sugar (sure, use castor if you’re into it), add pinch of salt, dash of vanilla essence and 3 eggs, then the chocolate, and whip swiftly (if you have the right tool, that is).
Fold through 100g plain flour, a cup of macadamia pieces (raw, unsalted ones – though actually salted would be interesting too… or of course, use any other nut you like) and a chunkily chopped 100g bar of Green and Black’s White Chocolate, which is deliciously flecked, creamy and fragrant, not at all like the bleached waxy blocks you normally see. TRY not to eat too much of the batter, try to stop everyone else (Karin!) eating too much of the batter. It is a really delicious batter!
Blob into a shallow baking tray (I used my previously mentioned 31×25cm trusty Willow lamington tray) and vaguely spread it out evenly. Bake @ 180 degrees C for 20 minutes, or until nicely crusty on top, but better to undercook and have a fudgy brownie than overcook and have a dry one. Err on the side of fudgy, people!
Serve to guests warm, with cream – swiftly whipped with a generous zesting of lemon and a tiny touch of icing sugar – and then give up, because the rest will now be consumed, in ever decreasing sized squares, while standing guiltily in the open fridge door… and if you live in a house of 5, as I do, make sure to get up as early as you can to do your naturally lit photography, because it will be gone within 24 hours, guaranteed 😉
Verdict: I LOVED the chocolates (nibbled the 70% and white, still have to try the milk and maya gold – anyone tried?), and loved them in the brownie.. I’d decided not to use any cocoa in the brownie batter so the chocolate at hand could shine, and I was pretty surprised just how intensely chocolately the brownies were, especially with only 1 x 100g block. Both bars were really highly fragrant on unwrapping too, and as mentioned above, the white chocolate was really completely unlike the white chocolate one is used to.. flecked through with vanilla and darkly creamy.. mmm… so delicious eating chocolate, but also performed very well in baking!
I also love the Green&Blacks fairtrade and organic -ness, and although I try to reduce the carbon footprint and all, and so would generally prefer not to be eating chocolate flown from the other side of the globe (made in the UK), I think some exceptions can be made now and then, right? We were discussing the whole food travel conundrum at a party on Saturday night, and decided that the distance limit could be flexible, depending on how much of a treat the food was and how far you would actually be willing to drive to gather it yourself – eg, pumpkins, fruit, dairy, bread, meat etc try and keep it as closely grown as possible, but for a real treat – say mangoes, truffles or spiced cider or handmade hot chocolate? yeah, you might drive 300km… especially if there was also going to be a great party 😉 (post coming soon). Anyway, based on this taster, I think Green&Blacks might well be worth a chunk of my carbon allowance from time to time! xxx