I am fed up of store bought brownies. They just never seem to be right. They are either too cakelike without enough chew or the top isn’t glazed. I don’t even understand why, brownies couldn’t be much simpler. Couple a good chewy brownie with some nuts and you’ve got heaven. There isn’t even much more I can say about that. I just got a craving, one that could only be satisfied by Pecan Brownies.
I’m a bit of a cheat with brownies. I got a brownie tin a little while back that allows me to bake them into individual squares, rather than into one big slab.
- 225 grams light brown muscovado sugar
- 75 grams self-raising flour
- 25 grams cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- 400 grams milk chocolate
- 200 grams butter
- 100 grams pecan nuts (chopped)
- Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan).
- Melt the chocolate with the butter using a water bath, placing a heatproof bowl over hot water and stirring until they have melted together.
- Add the sugar to the molten chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the nuts.
- Combine the flour and cocoa powder then sift into the chocolate mixture, mixing well.
- If using a tin similar to mine, divide up the mixture to around half way up each of the holes. You’ll have enough leftover for either a second batch or else a small tin worth and bake for 35-45 minutes.
- Otherwise pour into an 8 inch square tin and bake for 60 minutes (1 hour).
Jam. You just can’t beat it. The sun came out in Leeds yesterday, which of course prompted everyone to go crazy. On a wonder into town with my friend Gareth, I came across the craft fair in the Corn Exchange. Amongst the general stands selling jewellery (and one selling all the different possible types of fudge, red bull, really?) I came across a stand selling homemade Jam. I had quite a lengthy chat with the owner, about the different types of jams that she made and ended up walking away with a selection, the cogs already whirring in my head as to what I could do with them. I settled for a jar of raspberry, jar of ginger and a jar of scotch whisky marmalade. I decided on thumb cookies. Tiny, nut-covered, jam filled pieces of joy.
Jam Thumb Cookies
- 115 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50 grams granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg, separated
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 130 grams all-purpose flour
- Dash of salt.
- 80-100 grams hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
- 60 - 120 ml raspberry jam
- Heat your oven up to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Spread the nuts over a baking tray (I chose pecan), then place in the oven for around 10 minutes to toast. Once these are done, allow them to cool for half an hour then either chop them finely by hand or put them in a food processor and blitz until fine.
- Keep the oven on and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar. Then beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Beat until combined. (Ensure you save the egg white).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt (if you used salted butter, don’t worry too much about including the salt).
- Mix the flour mixture into the butter mix, starting on a slow speed and gradually increasing it. For a long time it just looks like bread-crumbs. Stick at it and eventually it combines into a pastry like dough. Mix until it has just formed.
- If it’s too soft, put it in the fridge for between 30-60 minutes.
- Divide up into individual balls, each around 2.5cm across. You’ll get around 20 from the batch.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until it’s froffy.
- Spread the chopped nuts out on a flat surface (I used a plate). Individually dip the balls into the egg white, then gently roll them over the chopped nuts to coat.
- Place on the baking tray and using your thumb (or handle of a wooden spoon) press a hollow into the top of them gently.
- Fill the hole with jam.
- Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.