Food&drink: How to Bake the Perfect Brownie; JO WALKER FINDS TWO BOOKS BURSTING WITH RECIPE IDEAS FOR THOSE SWEET TREATS Wine Notes

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), September 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

Food&drink: How to Bake the Perfect Brownie; JO WALKER FINDS TWO BOOKS BURSTING WITH RECIPE IDEAS FOR THOSE SWEET TREATS Wine Notes


Byline: Colin Pressdee

BORED of store-bought biscuits? Finding sweets only so-so? Two new books are here to help, with mouth-watering inspirations to get even the most kitchen-phobic cookie fancier reaching for the pinny and wooden spoon.

Having sold 500,000 copies of her recipe books, Linda Collister is a bona fide queen of the baking and breadmaking world, and her latest offering, Brownies, has it all, featuring everything from classic takes on the chocolatey brown square to more exotic renditions like cranberry and dark chocolate brownies, choc choc rum brownies, and blondies - an Australian recipe based on white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Collister says: "Brownies are quick and easy to put together, yet immensely rich and satisfying.".

So what makes a brownie different from a cake or a biscuit? "The texture is crucial," adds Collister. "A good brownie should be soft, with a close, moist, fudgy quality completely unlike the crumbly, open and light texture of a sponge cake."

Another new book, Cookies, is the perfect complement to Collister's work: full of scrummy biscuit recipes, ranging from classic oat cookies to more extravagant concoctions like chocolate chip cookie ice cream cakes. Cookies also contains a section called Occasional Treats, a collection of celebration cookies from around the world.

BLACK FOREST BROWNIES (makes 24)

ingredients

225g good-quality plain chocolate

125g unsalted butter, diced

3tbsp double cream

3 large free-range eggs

225g caster sugar

2tbsp Kirsch or Kirsch syrup from a jar of preserved cherries (optional)

160g plain flour

100g good-quality plain chocolate, roughly chopped, or plain choc chips

465g jar or can black cherries (175g drained weight) icing sugar, for dusting

method

Grease and base-line a brownie tin, 20.5 25.5cm. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Break the 225 grams of chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Add diced butter and cream and set over pan of steaming water. Melt gently, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool until needed

Break the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until just frothy. Add the sugar and Kirsch (if using) and whisk until thick and mousse-like. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture

Sift the flour onto the mixture and stir in. When thoroughly combined stir in the pieces of chocolate

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly. Gently drop the cherries onto the brownie mixture, spacing them as evenly as possible. Bake for 30 to 35 mintes until a skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the centre comes out just clean

Remove the tin from the oven. Leave until cool before removing from the tin and cutting into 24 pieces. Serve dusted with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container and eat within four days

For an alcohol-free alternative use black cherries canned in either juice or light syrup

EXTRA-CRUNCH Y PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES (makes 20)

ingredients

115g unsalted butter, softened

125g crunchy peanut butter

140g light muscovado sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2tsp real vanilla essence

225g self-raising flour

200g roasted unsalted peanut halves

method

Grease several baking trays. …

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