Thursday 11 June 2015

Stella Newman's Chocolate Brownie Recipe!

Stella Newman's Favourite Recipe

The chief love interest in my new book, The Dish - other than the gorgeous chef Adam Bayley - is a lush custard doughnut. This doughnut is based on the doughnuts made by Justin Gellatly at Bread Ahead in London’s Borough Market. I do not have the skill or confidence to recreate these at home – if you do, then definitely buy his book, Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding – which is a masterpiece.

What I do know how to make (and eat) quite well, is brownies. This is my all time favourite recipe, given to me by my old editor. This recipe makes brownies which are intensely chocolaty, fudgy, and a perfect textural combo: definite firm crispy crust on the top, immediately giving way to light yet lush fudginess.

250g unsalted butter
100g plain flour, sieved
400g dark chocolate (Bourneville), broken into melt-able pieces
3 eggs
240g dark muscovado sugar (do not substitute with caster sugar!)
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

A quick note on chocolate: We live in an age of chocolate snobs. Anything less than Valrhona 70% solids in the shopping basket marks you out as someone who forages from the bins behind Aldi. Consequently a good old fashioned bar such as Bourneville is no longer as widely available as, say, Green & Blacks.

Unsurprising. Cadbury make both and charge a lot more for the latter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Bourneville is better, just that sometimes, in some recipes - for example this one - you don't need to shell out £2+ on 100g of dark chocolate.


1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

2. Line a brownie tin with greaseproof paper.

3. In a medium sized bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder and salt - stir briefly to mix - and put to one side.

4. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (I usually put an inch of water in the saucepan.) Melt very gently, stir a lot, you do not want to overheat the chocolate. Bourneville is a lot lighter when it melts than posher chocolate (37% cocoa solids vs. 70%+).

Remove from the heat when both have melted and are looking beautiful and velvety.

5. In your final bowl, i.e. the bowl you're going to end up putting all the ingredients in (so make sure it's big enough and has room to stir and whisk) break the eggs.

6. With an electric handwhisk, whisk them on a gentle speed for a minute to get some air in. They should just look beaten by the time you're done - you're not expecting any major state change.

7. Keep whisking gently and add the dark muscovado sugar, one spoon at a time. (Tablespoon or approximation is fine, the point is to do it gradually.) By the end of this stage you should have a medium caramel coloured, quite thick combo of egg and sugar. The whole egg and sugar stage should take no longer than 3 minutes.

8. With a metal spoon, mix in the melted chocolate and butter mixture and the vanilla extract. When you're done it'll look like this:

9. With a spatula - gently fold in the flour, baking powder + salt mix.

10. Give one more gentle stir with the spatula, and pour into the brownie tin.

The mixture will be extremely thick (cast of TOWIE thick) at this point.

11. Put in the middle of the middle shelf of your oven for 35 -40 minutes. As per the golden rule of brownies, most clearly articulated by Ottolenghi in his first book, timing is all: better to under than overdo, watch like a hawk, know your oven, etc.

The finished brownies should have risen and be starting to firm up on top. Put a skewer in and it should still come out a bit sticky (I lack skewers, hence the fork):

I was slightly scared of the monster I'd created at this stage. As you'll see it has developed a slightly plasticky looking, wrinkly film, which looks even more alarming in close-up:

Fear not. It all works out in the end.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 mins, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.


I don't know about you, but my mouth is watering right now!

Grab yourself a copy of The Dish here or add it to your Goodreads TBR.


  1. Anonymous20/6/15 14:11

    This book sounds great, and I love the brownies. One of my favourite cakes to make, and caster sugar is definitely not a substitute for muscovado! ;-)


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