'Propa' British Brownies

Celebrating the fact that it’s biscuit week on Great British Bake Off, I am sharing my recipe for 'Propa’ British Brownies, chock-full of biscuits we all know and love. I am also celebrating the fact that today, I joined the gym. Now the reason I am celebrating this is because I feel less guilty about rushing home to bake these knowing I will devour at least three during tonight's episode of GBBO.

So, on my quest to find the perfect brownie I have come across many different recipes; the key is getting that perfect balance of fudgy cakiness in the middle and the chocolaty crisp exterior.

Back in 2013 I came across John Slattery’s recipe for ‘Chocolate Pecan Brownies’ when I won a chocolate wedding cake competition, part of the prize was his book: John Slattery’s Creative Chocolate. It has been my go-to recipe whenever I’ve been in the mood for brownies. I’ve had them with peanut butter swirled throughout, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and then jewelled with cranberries during winter, I’ve gone totally cray and thrown white, milk and dark chocolate chips in the mix. They were the dessert at my first dinner party in my new house – I kept it simple and served with a homemade vanilla ice cream. Along the way I have made a few minor tweaks, I’m not saying these tweaks make the recipe better; they’ve just happened organically and seemed to have stuck.

The reason this recipe came about was because I couldn’t bring myself to throw out those slightly soft and stale custard creams lurking at the bottom of the biscuit barrel, I know you all have them... So instead of throwing them out I baked them into a batch of chocolate brownies and something magical happened! They went from the seemingly everyday confection to little squares of heaven. I have tried them with a variety of biscuits and personally I prefer a nice random mixture so the good thing there is you can throw in whatever you have. 

Makes 12 brownies

Ingredients:

  • 225g Dark Chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, Free Range or Organic
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Vanilla Pod or 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Shot of Espresso
  • 25g Cocoa Powder
  • 250g Assorted Biscuits

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line an 8" square cake tin or you can use a standard 12x9 baking sheet, however they won't be as deep and the baking times will change so be aware.
  2. Over a bain-marie/double boiler, melt the chocolate ensuring in a bowl doesn't come in to contact with the boiling water, set aside to cool slightly. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light. Add the eggs, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the chocolate and espresso. As a reward for getting this for you may lick the chocolate bowl.
  3. Sift the the dry ingredients together and add to the mix slowly until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  4. Roughly crumble 1/3 of the biscuit assortment into the batter and loosely mix in to combine. Spread half of the mixture in the tin and layer another 1/3 of biscuits (whole) on top. Cover with the remaining batter and then press in the leftover biscuits.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until you have a shiny, papery crust on top and the sides just start to come away from the tin.
  6. Once out of the oven let them cool fully in the tin. Cut the brownies into quarters and then cut each quarter into four. If you like your work colleagues then you can take them to work and reluctantly share them out, if not you can save them all for yourself.