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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sunday Treats - Shortbread Brownies

Last weekend I was in a quandary ... did I fancy shortbread or brownies? It was like Sophie's choice (I exaggerate....kind of)

So, after spending about 20minutes searching for pictures of each to see if my eyes and stomach could make a decision, I decided... Shortbread Brownies!

I took my favourite brownie recipe, my favourite shortbread recipe and combined the two. I definitely made the right decision - it was exactly what I fancied!!
120g butter, softened
55g golden caster sugar
130g plain flour
40g dry semolina
pinch of salt

275g golden caster sugar
190g unsalted butter
185g good quality chocolate (I like to use 80% cocoa) but standard plain chocolate will do the job just fine
90g plain flour
3 large eggs (free range please guys - or even better...fresh!)
Optional: 70g Rice Crispies

The brownie recipe also works perfectly well without the shortbread. My favourite recipe as it's not too rich :)
Serving: 24 triangles

1) Start with the shortbread. Beat the softened butter with the sugar and salt until pale and creamy. TIP: It's hard work creaming butter and sugar together until pale, but it really is the secret of successful desserts :)
2) Sift the flour over the creamy mixture and add the semolina. Beat until combined and it forms a dough - it should just about stick together
3) Line a large baking sheet with parchment or baking paper

If you haven't already, get the kids involved. And if you don't have kids, YOU get to act like one now!

4) Time to take little bits of the dough and roll them into many many little balls. The balls should be around a 1cm across
5) Once you've used up all the dough, place the tray in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up again. Preheat your oven to 150degrees (130degrees fan oven)
6) Place the shortbread into the oven for 30minutes. You don't want the shortbread to brown, so if you can see signs of them turning golden, reduce the heat. Take out the oven and leave to cool

Lets start the brownies!

7) Break up the butter and chocolate into small pieces and place in a Pirex bowl. Half fill a small saucepan with water and place the bowl just inside the saucepan so that the bowl is resting on the edges of the saucepan. Make sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl. This is a type of Bain Marie
8) Place the Bain Marie on a low heat and gently melt the butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. Once melted, leave to cool

9) Take a large mixing bowl, break your eggs into it and add the sugar. Whisk them together until they form a thick, pale, creamy consistency which is about double its original volume. This may take around 5 minutes - if you want to cheat a little, use an electric whisk on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes

10) Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Gently fold the chocolate in, until everything has combined. Fold instead of mix to keep the air in - this way your brownies will stay light and airy

11) Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture. Gently fold together until a glossy gooey mixture forms, but don't fold too much or you'll loose that lovely airy texture

Everything is about to come together... eek, can't wait!!

12) Fold in the cooled shortbread - or the shortbread you have left... I can guarantee quite a few of the little drops of heaven have already been consumed! TIP: Now is the time to add those optional Rice Crispies. The Rice Crispies go soft and make the brownie a little more chewy.Turn up the oven to 180degrees (160degrees for a fan oven) once the shortbread has been removed
13) Line a brownie tin (around 24x20cm) and pour the mixture in. Place in the oven for 25minutes. If after 25minutes the middle of the brownie still feels wobbly, pop it back in for 5 minutes

14) Remove from oven. Once it has cooled slightly, take a knife and mark out your brownies

15) Now this might be the hardest thing in the world, but you SHOULD allow the brownies to cool completely before turning them out. I'll leave that decision up to you

YOU'RE DONE! Eat, enjoy, freeze some (yer right), take them to a picnic and give some to friends (again, yer right)

Time Saver: I must confess that this is definitely a 'Sunday Treat' and isn't the quickest thing to make... BUT both the shortbread and brownies on their own are pretty quick and simple. PLUS you could double the brownie mixture, cook them all and then freeze the ones you don't want for another day - simple pop them in the oven for 10minutes to warm through. OR make double the shortbread mixture and freeze the other half - I recommend freezing the dough in the shapes you like (cut out biscuit fingers for example) rather than the cooked shortbread, as it turns out much better

TIP: If you want to use the shortbread recipe on it's own to make thicker shortbread fingers, leave in the oven for around an hour and sprinkle them with brown sugar once they've just come out of the oven. Mmmm tasty!

Have you combined two recipes to make one giant success? I'd love to know!

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