It finally happened. Last night, spurred on by the imminent visit of my good friend Mimi, I opened my new favourite cookbook – ‘Adventures in Chocolate’ by Paul A. Young – and got down to some indecent baking.
Oh yes, indecent’s the word all right. Not because I was baking in the nude, mind you (I wasn’t), but because of what the session involved: four eggs, plain flour, 275g of golden caster sugar, half a pack of butter, a huge amount of golden syrup, and four – yes, FOUR – large bars of chocolate (three dark, one milk).
Mr Young sure knows how to party. Although, in fairness, his recipe wasn’t quite as naughty as I made it. In the original he asks for sour cherries and dessicated coconut, but I couldn’t find the former – and the texture of the latter has never been something I’ve liked; too gritty and dry. So in their place I added the bar of milk chocolate, chopped into sizeable chunks, to be sprinkled on my mixture at the end.
God, I love baking with chocolate. The licking of the bowls especially; all that thick, syrupy mixture that the spatula can’t quite shift. Not to mention the leftover chocolate flakes, which have to be scraped off the board (with a tongue, of course – the finest of utensils). In fact, by the time my brownies reached the oven, I was already feeling quite full. Not that I regretted it. It’s cleaning, after all: my favourite kind of housework. These blobs of batter and chocolate crumbs are wasted in washing-up water.
Anyway. Back to the baking. As my mixture bubbled away in the heat, the flat was filled with the most delicious smells; so rich and sweet that I could hardly bear to wait. Finally, after twenty tantalising minutes, it was time to bring the brownies out. Initial signs were good: the mixture was so gooey that the whole thing wobbled – speaking the same language as my thighs already.
Now. Officially, the brownies weren’t required for yesterday evening and ought to have been left well alone (I was preparing them a day in advance, you see). Unofficially, these things need to be sampled while they’re fresh. Luckily, along with my larger brownie tin, I’d filled a few cupcake cases with the mixture as well. Samples, if you will.
Lordy, Lordy, folks. They. Were. AMAZING.
Still warm, the bottoms oozed like dark rich mousse. And the milk chocolate chunks on the top had started to caramelise – they were crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle.
According to Paul A. Young, however, these babies improve with age – they’re actually in their prime after spending a night in the fridge.
With the promise that the best was yet to come – and the thought that Mimi might not be too pleased if I’d eaten all our pudding – I eventually managed to put down my spoon.
Tonight I might buy some ice cream. This evening is going to be epic.