It dawned on me recently that the reason I love to bake is because I love to share. And because I love to talk. Arriving at a friend’s house with a container full of still-warm brownies, or a freshly made cake is like extending a hand, to say ‘Hello, let’s sit down together and chat.’ Whether it’s in the morning or the afternoon, for me, enjoying a (usually much-needed) coffee with a friend over a slice of cake is always a treat. Because I’m at work for much of the week, I cherish these catch-ups with my friends. Whatever we are discussing – potty training, crazy bosses, the Asda Christmas ad, where to get a great Thai meal, or when the next night out is going to be – cake always helps things along.
The trick is to have something up your sleeve for the little ones to do while you chat. I always take a little container just for my toddler so she can tuck in to something by herself. (Invariably, she also always gets a small piece of what I’m eating, too.)
This recipe was passed down to me by my mum – a great cook who is totally (and I mean totally) unflappable in the kitchen. I have tweaked slightly to make it even easier; I think it has to be the simplest brownie recipe ever. I can make the mixture and get it in the oven in about 10 minutes flat.
NB The added bonus to this recipe is, assuming you have a platform scale, like my Salter one, and can weigh directly into your saucepan, you should only have about five items to wash up (or stick in the dishwasher) by the end. Result.
Easy Chocolate Walnut Fudge Brownies
These are a doddle. They are squidgy, nutty and delicious. (Although I have to say now that they aren’t *quite* as good as Nigel Slater’s very good chocolate brownies, which are, quite simply, the best in the world.) But they are good and considerably quicker to make, so brilliant for a busy mum to whip up while the children are occupied, the baby’s napping or you’ve finally got them to bed and have just realized it’s the school cake sale next day…
Makes about ten decent sized brownies
150g soft dark brown sugar
90g self-raising flour
1 egg, plus 1 extra yolk
70g chopped walnuts
1tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F, and line a 8” x 8” square baking tin.
- Put a non-stick saucepan on to your platform scale and weigh the butter and sugar directly into it. Set onto a low heat to melt. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat.
- Weigh out the flour, cocoa and walnuts, and fold into your melted butter and sugar mixture, along with the egg, the extra yolk, the vanilla essence and the salt.
- Spoon the mixture into your baking tin and bake for 20 mins. Remove from the oven, and once cooled for about 20 mins, cut into squares, before allowing them to cool completely in the tin.
- Enjoy with a friend.