I finally tried my friend’s recipe this weekend and I am very pleased to confirm it is every bit as delicious as she said it would be. Decadent is the right word to describe it. There is a shocking amount of chocolate in it, but I was pleasantly surprised to note that only half the sugar and eggs that are in my personal favourite chocolate brownie recipe.
Julie Oelofse and I have been friends for over 20 years. We met through mutual friends in our late teens and partied many a good party together. We studied together, she was at my 21st birthday party and was there to celebrate my wedding way back when. Sadly we lost contact when I moved cities and countries but met up again through mutual friends on Facebook. Now we celebrate milestone birthdays without each other, but we get to share pics of our kids and special times. Isn’t life funny. I bet if we got together again, we would share as many laughs as we did all those years ago and it would seem like time stood still. It’s great to have friends like Julie, very special indeed, even if so far away.
I must admit I was a tad sceptical though about the use of coffee granules and nuts in the batter as I’ve never been a fan of nuts in brownies and am not a coffee drinker, but this particular combination of ingredients, although quite strong, is definitely very more-ish and I couldn’t stop at my first piece – the brownie was still warm and I was already helping myself to seconds.
My advice? Bake the brownie, invite some great friends round and share a few good laughs about old times. As for me, I’ll be thinking of my friend and the good times even though I’m on the other side of the world.
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175 g unsalted butter
5 ml vanilla extract
15 ml instant coffee granules
250 ml castor sugar
300 ml flour
100 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 27 cm x 17 cm (top measurement) slice tray with baking paper (I let the paper lie up and over the sides of the pan and then hold the sides down using metal bulldog clips).
- Melt the chopped chocolate, butter, vanilla extract and coffee granules in a large saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally – the granules seemed to want to stick to the bottom.
- Beat the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy and add to the melted chocolate or just add them to the mixture in the saucepan and whisk well.
- Sieve the flour and add to the mixture, along with the chopped nuts. Pour mixture into the prepared tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until the edges look firm and cooked while the centre remains slightly squidgy (mine took 27 mins and were just perfect!).
- Allow to cool in the tray for a while then invert carefully onto a wire rack to fully cool, peeling the baking paper off slowly.
- Cut into slices or squares and savour that first taste.
- An afterthought had me considering icing them thinly or sprinkling icing sugar over the top for decoration, but I decided to leave them plain to get the full effect.