Mar 3, 2009

Dark and moist

I was looking for a brownies recipe, when Nigel said:

I don't brag about my brownie recipe, or make extravagant claims for it; I just think it is as good a recipe as you will find. Anywhere. The crust is thin and lightly crisp, the centre poised between chocolate cake and the texture of a peat bog. The flavour is intense. This isn't just gastroporn, this is positively pay-per-view. But here's the thing: no nuts. I can hear you shouting that it isn't authentic, because there are no walnuts or pecans to contrast with the general softness. But you know what? I think the nuts get in the way. What I want is the mother of all brownies - pure, dense and unapologetically raunchy.

It was just too sexy to ignore. So good in fact, that I decided to double the recipe.

You start slowly. Chocolate, gentle heat, let it melt. Foreplay is important. Grind your butter into the sugar, hesitant at first, until your hand finds then rhythm and they blend more and more easily. A short burst of speed for whisking the eggs, then slow down again for mixing it in. When you add the melted chocolate, you can suddenly smell it. A dark, heavy scent. The mixture gasps puffs of flour as you stir. For the first time in years, I found myself licking the batter from the bowl. Sticky fingers, dirty lips.

At last, the tin was in the oven. But it wasn't over yet. Is it hot enough? Has it been in long enough? Not to hot? Timing needs to be perfect.

The result was dark, rich and moist - perversely beautiful.

And I left stains on the counter tops.