I’ve been obsessed with making the perfect brownies for as long as I can remember. I am very critical of anyone else’s brownies too and I never feel more cheated than when I’ve eaten a disappointing one – the waste of calories for a start is enough to drive me crazy. I don’t normally advocate buying expensive ingredients for the sake of it, but I do think a really good quality dark chocolate makes a difference. I use Godiva 70% but that’s because it’s my absolute favourite and I’m a creature of habit.
I will not claim that I have found brownie perfection, but this recipe is damn close and never fails as long as I don’t experiment with the oven times. You may need a couple of test batches before you get the right timing as each oven is different but what’s the worst that can happen? Underdone you have a delicious gooey mess that you can mop up with a spoon, overdone and you can just break it all up and stir it through some ice cream. The brownie should be just set on top like a cake, and slightly gooey in the middle. Make sure it’s completely cooled before you try and cut it (made the day before they are just as good). I usually trim the edges very slightly as they are slightly crustier and I love the prefect square – or at least that’s the excuse I tell myself as I’m stuffing the “edges” into my gob!
- Melt the chocolate with the butter over a bowl of simmering water (ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).
- Alternatively melt in short 30 second bursts in the microwave. Grate the orange zest into the chocolate and set aside.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a food mixer, or by hand until light and fluffy.
- Pour the chocolate into the sugar and egg mixture and stir to combine.
- Sift the flour over the top of the chocolate mixture and fold in gently.
- Heat your oven to 180 fan, 200 conventional and line a 33cm by 24cm baking dish with baking parchment.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and level with the back of a spoon or a palate knife.