I'm not sure where this instinct in me originates from, but whenever I feel stuck for a little gift to give someone, I give food. For example, when I feel Mr. A&N deserves a bit of attention, I'll go off and buy him some nice sausages or a pork pie. If we're going around to a friend's for dinner, I'll bring homemade jam or some cake. I've lost all perspective on whether or not this is normal. Today's situation is that an environmentally-conscious pregnant friend is about to have a special event; flowers are out, booze is out, but brownies, I've determined, are very, very in.
Brownies are my go-to baked product. During my time as a graduate student several years back, I would spend evenings in the pub (over the year, I studiously worked my way up to 4 pints a night without being completely annihilated), skipping food since that was too pricey, and then stumble my way home, whip up a batch of brownies, and eat half the pan before drunkenly falling into bed. I'm still sometimes amazed my body survived that year of nutritional deprivation. I've tweaked the brownie recipe slightly over the years, but the basic recipe has stayed the same due to their slightly-crispy-crust-with-slightly-gooey insides that many other brownies just fail to deliver on and which I can't get enough of. So in my book of ideas that might-or-might-not be normal, they're an excellent special-event-run-by-a-pregnant-friend gift.
Fits comfortably in an 8x8in baking tin, or equivalent
- 1/2 C / 110 g unsalted butter
- 1 C granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 shot of espresso or 1 spoonful of instant coffee, dissolved in a bit of hot water
- 1/2 C cake flour
- 1/3 C + 1 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pre-heat oven to 175 C.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium low heat, taking care not to sizzle it.
- When melted, turn off heat and let sit for a minute or so to cool. Stir in the sugar.
- Add both eggs, vanilla extract, and coffee, and stir well.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, and add to the wet ingredients.
- Grease and flour the baking pan, and pour the brownie batter into it.
- Cook in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer emerges mostly clean (there will be a bit of goo on it since these are slightly fudgey brownies).
- Allow to cool in the pan for a ouple of minutes, then cool on a cooling rack.