London has been living up to its true reputation for grey skies and rain recently. Ever since Christmas we’ve had a lot of it. Mentally you have to be a crazy optimist and just crack on with things. The upside is you get a lot of work done and cook more because its too foul to go out. I’ve just finished my second book for Murdoch and sent it off to Sydney yesterday….whahey! So the rain has been my friend, whipping my attention-deficit brain into gear. It will come out next year, about this time, and the title is still top secret. In a few weeks we are getting a pug puppy, which is going to be interesting. Hopefully the rain will stop because instead of being indoors, I will be decked out in my rain mac, poo bag in hand, standing in the park with the dog. My sons, Liam and Riley, have sworn they are going to help but its likely to be me. Anyways….I diverted a bit. So onto the weekly recipe from the book- peppermint brownies.
Brownie recipes are a bit like chocolate chip cookies. Even if you have a foolproof recipe, you keep trying new ones in case there’s something better out there. Well, you can stop searching because this one has all the good brownie attributes you want…crusty edges, moist but solid center, and not too much chocolate. After all, you want to have more than one. What makes these a bit more special is a touch of peppermint extract. Mint and chocolate go together but it also injects a fresh touch. So whether its raining or not, make these gorgeous brownies to keep your chin up this winter.
preparation time 20 minutes cooking time 40 minutes
makes about 18
250g (9 oz) unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra for greasing
225g (8 oz) dark chocolate chopped
400g (14 oz) caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
185g (6 1/2 oz/1 1/4 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
Icing (powdered) sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 160ºC (315ºF/Gas 2–3). Grease a deep 23 cm (9 inch) square cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.
Melt the butter and 200 g (7 oz) chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir until combined. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and mix in. Pour into the tin and bake for 40–45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Cool completely in tin, then invert onto a chopping board and remove baking paper.
Using a sharp knife, slice into 3 cm (1/4 inch) squares or small triangles, wiping after each slice to ensure smooth slices.