There is definitely something about chocolate that’s addictive. It contains several stimulants, including caffeine and pleasure-inducing endorphins. This is an intensely chocolatey brownie recipe, which gets smothered in a salted caramel sauce. If the brownies have gone cold and you want to heat them up in a hurry, pour over some of the sauce and flash under a hot grill until bubbling.
– 400g (14oz) plain chocolate, finely chopped (at least 55% cocoa solids)
– 225g (8oz) butter, diced
– 4 eggs
– 275g (10oz) caster sugar
– 100g (4oz) self-raising flour
– 75g (3oz) cocoa powder
– 100g (4oz) toasted pecan nuts, roughly chopped
– 200g (7oz) raspberries
– Vanilla ice cream, to serve
Salted caramel sauce
– 100g (4oz) caster sugar
– 75g (3oz) butter
– 250ml (9fl oz) cream
– ½ vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
– 1 tsp sea salt flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/gas mark 3). Line a 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in) deepsided baking tin with parchment paper.
2. Place 100g (4oz) of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate and butter have melted, then stir to combine. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl until they’re stiff and holding their shape, then whisk in the sugar until you have achieved a stiff sabayon that can hold a trail of the figure eight. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the sabayon and lightly fold them in. Add the melted chocolate mixture with the remaining finely chopped chocolate and the pecan nuts, and continue folding gently until all the ingredients are just combined. Finally, gently fold in the raspberries.
4. Pour the batter into the lined baking tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the top is crusty but the centre is still a little soft.
5. Meanwhile, make the salted caramel sauce. Place the sugar in a pan with 150ml (¼ pint) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until golden brown, without stirring. Stir in the butter, cream, vanilla seeds and salt and mix well over a low heat until it’s a thick sauce consistency. Serve hot or leave to cool until needed.
6. To serve, remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the parchment paper. Reheat the salted caramel sauce in the pan. Cut the brownies into 16 rectangles and arrange on serving plates with the hot salted caramel sauce and scoops of ice cream.
In The Nation’s Favourite Food. Neven assembles his all-time top 100 recipes. These are Neven’s all-stars – the fool-proof, tried and tested definitive versions of the dishes Ireland makes every day of the week. Each section contains 5 absolute classics, so you won’t be overwhelmed by choice; rather, you will be inspired to learn the recipes off-by-heart as you make them over and over again.
Buy your copy of The Nation’s Favourite Food by Neven Maguire at www.gillbooks.ie.