22 February 2012

Lunch Box Bakes...#1

...I always used to buy what we would call 'snacks' for the lunch boxes in my life...but these days I prefer to bake, and the smallish people prefer my baking!!! To the point where they now moan if I want a day off and offer to buy something instead!! I shouldn't complain, but hey I'm a Mum :-)


There are two definite favourites in our house, traybake brownies and cookies...Both of which come from a variety of sources and like so many of the things I make and bake become 'tweaked' and merged and take on a life of their own! 
The basic brownie recipe I use a lot is from Nigella's 'Kitchen' book You can tell which page it is in my book, as there are chocolate splodges on it!!...they are her "Everyday Brownies" This link takes you to the US site for FoodNetwork, as I can't find an original to link to in UK...But it shows you how Nigella makes these easy peasy brownies...So here is my version of Nigella's Everyday Brownies...that my children call...
Gooey Brownie Traybake

Ingredients:

150g butter, unsalted is best, but I use whichever I have the most of in my fridge!
300g sugar, dark muscovado is best, but I quite often use light soft brown...
75g cocoa, sifted - I never sift!
100g plain flour - Nigella uses 150g and no almonds...
50g ground almonds - one of my 'tweaks' we like the extra softness the almonds give...
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt, I don't add this if I use salted butter
4 eggs, large, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
about 150g milk chocolate, cut into rough chunks, I use the supermarket's own one
1 x 25cm square x 5cm deep lined baking tray, or a disposable foil tray the same size



Put the oven on, gas 5/190c.
Melt the butter, slowly, then add the sugar and stir until all mixed in and blended.
Then add the flour, cocoa, bicarb, salt (if using) and ground almonds. Stir well...it will seem quite dry. Do this off the heat


Next add the eggs and vanilla, mix well...it should become rich and glossy. 
Now move quickly, and stir in the chunks of chocolate (chunks are better, I used chocolate chips once and they just melted into the mix). 




Pour into the prepared pan...
Here's where you can get creative...
I have one that likes raspberries in their brownies, and one that likes more chocolate...so as you can see I do a half'n'half mix...I press some raspberries under the batter, and then push some into the top...with the white chocolate chips, I just sprinkle on top otherwise they melt (as said above)






Cook it for about 20-25 minutes...although I find it sometimes takes more or less time...I think my oven has a mind of its own!! I also find that mine cooks more around the edges and sinks as it cools...however it is always moist and gooey in the middle, which is the aim here!! Basically check with a skewer...if it comes out gooey but not raw brownie batter you're probably there!
Once it has cooled, cut into squares...You can see how moist it is in the middle!! My two love this in their lunch boxes...and it lasts long enough to see us through the week!

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