Thursday, 29 December 2011

Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Brownies

I'm still on a thrifty drive, trying to use up Christmas leftovers rather than just erm...disposing of them.  Obviously I try to use everything up ordinarily and any meat based products that are past their best are usually well received by our two dogs.  But every year, I buy cranberry jelly.  Every year, the husband has one spoonful with his Christmas dinner.  Every year, I put the jar in the fridge with the intention of using it for something else.  Every June, I have a mass clear out of the fridge and discard it because the back of the jar says to only keep it for two weeks after opening.

Finished brownies - sorry for the poor lighting!
But this year, given the current challenge, I thought I'd do something different.  I had a little yesterday with my baked Camembert lunch.  I then leafed through several recipe books looking for something to do with it, but all the recipes wanted dry or fresh cranberries or just served the sauce on the side.

So back I went to BBC Good Food.  They're really good at recipes for recycling Christmas leftovers and they recommended a fab recipe for post-Christmas pie to me the other day which you can find here.  Would have loved to make this, but the husband doesn't like any meat-based pie that doesn't come from the chippy - classy!

A quick look at the rest of their post Christmas recipe collection turned up Cranberry and Macadamia Brownies.  Result.

Despite struggling to fit into my jeans and having not run for a week because of a nasty cold that's been kicking around, I had plans to make brownies today.  My hubby is a photographer and was doing a shoot for Miss Laura Mai, professional singer and one of our regular models tomorrow.  She (and lots of other people) say I make the best brownies ever and I promised her I'd make some next time she was in.  Sadly she crashed her car today (she's fine thankfully) but I'd just taken the brownies out of the oven when she texted to say she couldn't make the shoot so I'm being good and popping them into the freezer for the lucky guys I work with when I go back in the New Year.
Jewel red cranberry sauce going in

I did have a little taster when I cut out a piece to take a picture for the blog (the picture's rubbish because of the poor light in my kitchen this time of year) and the edge piece was lovely and soft, with the sharp taste of cranberry complementing the sweetness of the brownie.  I also loved the buttery crunch of the macadamias (my favourite nuts).    I don't often use nuts in my brownies for various reasons but really should experiment with nuts a bit more - pistachios being one nut I'd love to try out.  Once cut, the inner sections also had a very promising fudgy look to them.  Perfect.

The original recipe can be found here on the BBC Good Food website

I made a couple of modifications to the method based on my own brownie recipe.  It worked well for me.

Cuts into 16 (original recipe says 12)

  • 150g dark chocolate , broken into chunks
  • 200g butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour , sifted
  • 40g cocoa powder , sifted
  • 3 large eggs , beaten
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g macadamia nuts
  • 60g cranberry sauce
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4 and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment. Melt the dark chocolate with the butter in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over just simmering water.  Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Using a mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy and the raised beaters leave a trail on the surface for 3-4 seconds.  This may take anywhere between 3 -8 minutes so perserver.
  3. Fold the cooled chocolate into the eggy mousse and fold in using a spatula in a figure of eight motion.
  4. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder, again using the rubber spatula and a figure of eight motion until combined - take care to not overmix.
  5.  Stir through the dried cranberries and macadamia nuts, then swirl through the cranberry sauce.
  6. Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 25 - 30 mins. Allow to cool before slicing.

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