08 July 2017

Blast from the past - July 2012

Five years ago I was nearly finished the Book Arts MA and making work for the degree show in September. A lot of it was about cookbooks, based on those of my mother and grandmother, brought from Germany in the first case, and many needing to be replaced after a house fire in 1973. So there's a lot "wrapped up" in those books (and wrapping was something else I did for that course.)

Somehow all this culminated in a favourite recipe.

Easy-peasy brownies

My contribution to the pot-luck lunch was a panful of brownies. Not for me the complications of carefully melting the chocolate and creaming the butter - it's all done in a saucepan, and I use cocoa rather than chocolate. The recipe comes from a cookbook (of my favourite recipes) I compiled a good few years ago, as the project for a course at library school (actually, the project was the index to the book - but first I had to compile the book in order to index it; and while I was at it, why not print off 150 copies, sell enough to pay for the paper, and then have the rest to use as xmas presents? - after all, there was a gestetner machine living in my pantry, and all I had to do was retype all the recipes onto stencils, and run them off, collate the book, cover and bind.... ah, the energy of youth! Did I mention the preschool child, the absent husband, and the part-time jobs, one of which was the reason for the gestetner machine living in the pantry?).

The brownie recipe was written for a 9" square pan - and my favourite pan is 10" square, hence the annotations. I'll rewrite it - with metric measures - at the end of the post.
One after another, the eggs turned out to have double yolks - why is this? is it the time of year? They were large eggs, so I used three; when they are medium-sized, I use four, but have made this recipe with even fewer and it's worked ok -
double, double, toil and trouble

The pan went along to the pot-luck lunch, and even though they'd baked a little too much, the contents soon disappeared -
ideally, brownies are less baked (more squidgy) than this
So, the recipe. Numbers before the / are for the smaller pan; those after it, for the larger pan. Do not confuse the two! Also, I now use less sugar than in the original recipe. (btw, this site is useful for converting between types of measurement)

Easy-peasy brownies

Heat oven to 350F, 180C (160 for fan oven), gas 4. Butter a 9"(22cm)/10" (25cm)pan.

In a saucepan, melt 200 grams/300g (1/2 cup / 3/4 cbutter (or margarine). Take the pan off the heat.

Add 50 g/75 g (7 Tbsp/10 Tcocoa
        220 g/330 g (1 cup / 1 1/2 csugar
then add 3 eggs 4 eggs
and then add 1/4 tsp salt [can be left out]
         100 g / 150 g (3/4 c / 1 1/8 cplain flour
         1 tsp/ 1 1/2 tsp vanilla [this enhances the chocolate flavour!]
once these are mixed, add 75g / 100g (3/4c / 1 1/8 c) walnut pieces

Spread in pan, pop into (preheated) oven, set timer for 30 mins. Check the brownies - if they are almost firm to touch in the middle, they are ready. If not, set timer for 5 mins and check again. 
Once they are almost firm to touch, take out of oven and cool in pan 15 mins, then cut into squares. Or oblongs. Or diamonds?
Your brownies are ready to eat. In UK they often get cream poured over them; in North America they sometimes get chocolate frosting. 

cookbook cover, from a drawing by Thomas, aged 4 1/2 
a bit of the index, with the colophon

1 comment:

Kathleen Loomis said...

oooh -- cream poured over brownies!!! that sounds wonderful. I also like cream (or I'll be happy with milk) poured over a slice of fruit pie in a bowl. Thanks for a mind treat.