Dense, fudgy brownie topped with salty caramel ice cream
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
After a predictable (but not un-justifiable) moan about the arrival of mince pies on the supermarket shelves in October, the nights are finally drawing in, the John Lewis ad is on TV and I’m slowly starting to get into the festive spirit. Have you seen how many blogs out there are groaning with amazing Thanksgiving recipes (happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers by the way)? Because wonderful as it all sounds, turkey and all the trimmings equate to one thing only in my excited British eyes: Christmas.
One of my favourite things about Christmas is, unsurprisingly, the presents. I love the process of finding a gift that’s just right, of wrapping it up and placing it under the tree, the anticipation before it’s opened and the excitement once it is.
It’s also an aspect I enjoy the least.
Rich, dark chocolate brownies in the afternoon sun
I’m not talking about the giving and receiving of presents with those I know and love but those awkward extra presents, the socks and celebrity biographies and silly gadgets from ancient relatives and acquaintances, the things that leave you feeling slightly cynical about all that wasted money and wondering about the real value of giving in a celebration that has become so horribly commercialised.
This may be your initial reaction to a recipe for brownies
. Like those unwanted socks and soaps, do you really need another brownie
in your life? There are enough recipes for brownies
on this blog alone to make a different one every day of the week (not something I’d recommend if you’re hoping to squeeze into that little black dress come Christmas party time), so why, exactly, am I posting another one?
Ground almonds make these brownies super squidgy
If you’re anything like me your answer may be simple: because it contains chocolate, it’s delicious and you can never have too many brownie
recipes. But if you’re feeling a little more jaded and Scrooge-like, the answer is this: because it’s flourless
and therefore gluten free. I’ve had several gluten free
friends over for food recently and this recipe is great because it doesn’t feel like a substitution or poor imitation of the real thing. In fact the dense, fudgy richness imparted by the ground almonds might actually mean these brownies are superior to their floury counterparts.
The recipe is Nigella’s, with just the tiniest of tweaks. In homage to her overindulgent ways in the kitchen, I served these with a giant scoop of salted caramel ice cream, rich with burnt sugar and flecked with fleur de sel. I may in fact have gone ever-so-slightly overboard on the salt, resulting in a seriously intense ice cream, but I’m pretty sure Nigella wouldn’t object.
Serve in large slabs for the ultimate in decadent desserts
While you may not need another recipe for brownies in your life, I’m hoping that by now you want it. That you’ll try these slabs of dense deliciousness and share them with your friends, gluten free or otherwise. Wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a ribbon they might even make a lovely Christmas present. Better than another pair of unwanted socks anyway.
Salty sweet caramel ice cream & chocolate fudge brownies: a match made in heaven
Flourless Chocolate Fudge Brownies
(makes one 23cm square tin – portion that as you will)
225g dark chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter
200g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
I heaping tsp vanilla extract
175g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and line a 23cm square baking tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water then set aside to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla then stir into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Fold in the ground almonds then scrape into your prepared tin. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes minutes, until the top has set but the middle is still gooey and batter sticks to an inserted skewer (they will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven).
Take the brownies out the oven and allow to cool completely before turning out and slicing into thick, squidgy slabs. Serve with ice cream, preferably salted caramel (recipe here).