It seems I rediscover the local library every couple of years. Oftentimes it’s due to me being stuck in a location that I can’t get out of, without a dollar in my pocket and a good half hour until I can ride on out.
(I mean, I could walk on out, but I’m just not that keen on it.)
(I probably should be keener on it. Especially seeing as I’m baking, and eating, all those things you see on this here site.)
(New resolution: walk on out of joints you get stuck in. Sometimes.)
And so I wander the aisles of books and magazines and DVDs and audio books.
I sit on a comfy chair beside a giant window that looks out over a courtyard of century old bricks and wizened trees.
I wonder if there’s anything I would be interested in reading. I check my empty wallet. And it’s then I remember…
Borrowing books from the library. It’s free.
And with that thought in mind, I rush over to the cookbook section and quickly locate two books I’ve been pining to get my hands on – the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook and Tasting India by Christine Manfield.
You’ll never guess which one I cooked from first.
Actually, you probably will seeing as these brownies are a not-too-far distant cousin of those in the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook. There’s still the fruit soaked in a deliciously punchy mix and a high chocolate to flour ratio.
But instead of whisky soaked prunes, I tossed in a muddle of dried fig, dried cranberries & dried cherries which had been soaked in a knock-your-socks-off-strength blend of Darjeeling tea.
My attempt at making a non-alcoholic baked good faltered though, when I spied a miniature bottle of Jack Daniel’s Honey Buzz on my shelf, left over from a kickin’ launch party. So, for good measure, I tossed that in too.
A deliriously long 40 minutes later, they were done. Gooey. Intensely rich. I baked just a half batch (quantities below) in a much smaller tin and was rewarded with just the right ratio of crunchy side to gooey innard.
The product? Four long strips of delicious brownie. One for the parents (whose oven I use so regularly I almost wonder whether I should be the one to blame for its recent failure), one for Mr Sheppardoo (who surprised Koji & I with ice cream the other day, just because), one for a kid who’s offered to help me bling up this website… and the other?
Ha. That one’s for me.
(Now about that whole remembering to walk it off business…)
the brownie (with bits)
(adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)
you will need:
50g dried figs
50g dried cherries
50g dried cranberries
150ml hot, strongly brewed, darjeeling tea
30g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
150g cark chocolate
40g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
20ml honey flavoured rum
1/2C dark chocolate chips
how to do it:
1. Toss the dried fruit into the hot black tea. Place over a low heat until the fruit plumps up.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt into a bowl.
3. Put the chocolate, butter and sugars into a small saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate melts. Alternatively, do this in a bain marie. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let it cool.
4. Add the eggs one at a time to the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and stir to combine. Then add the yoghurt, rum, fruit, soaking juices and chocolate chips and give it all a good mix until it’s all nicely together.
5. Line a 20cm x 20cm square tin with lots of baking paper and pour the mixture in. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 170C, depending on how firmly set you like your brownies. The longer you cook them, the less wobbly they’ll be in the middle.
6. For best results, let the brownies cool completely before removing from the tin and chopping up. Or you could do what I did and eat hot brownie straight from the tin. Just because.