Pecan Brownies

Rich but bitter dark chocolate is combined with sweet and nutty pecans to create this incredible brownie recipe. A hint of sea salt brings out the flavours.

Gail's Artisan Bakery Cookbook
By Roy Levy
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Introduction

A glance at this list of ingredients and two things jump out at you: the salt, and the two types of chocolate - well, three, really, if you include the cocoa powder.

We adore dark bitter chocolate and could happily use the 70 per cent all the way through for a very grown-up brownie. At GAIL’s, we use a crowd-pleasing combination of very dark and slightly less intense chocolate. You could use all 50 per cent chocolate if you prefer - perhaps if you’re baking for children.

Where texture’s concerned, the debate over cakey vs. fudgy brownies will probably rage on forever. We like ours fudgy, so we introduce as little air to the mixture as possible, beating the eggs and sugar just until the sugar dissolves. If you’re in the cakey camp, whisk the eggs and sugar thoroughly until pale and doubled in volume, then fold into the mixture carefully to avoid knocking out the air.

These are best made the day before you want to eat them.

Makes 12 brownies
Easy

Ingredients

170g butter
200g very dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped into rough chunks
100g dark chocolate (50 per cent cocoa solids), chopped into rough chunks
45g cocoa powder (100 per cent cocoa solids)
130g plain flour
1 tsp flaked sea salt
5 eggs
200g caster sugar
120g light muscovado sugar
80g pecan halves

Essential kit

You will need a baking dish or brownie tray about 20cm x 30cm.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Line a baking dish or brownie tray about 20cm x 30cm with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl fitted snugly over the top of a small pan of gently simmering water, making sure that its base doesn’t actually touch the water. Stir carefully until melted and combined, remove the bowl from the pan and beat in the cocoa powder. Pour into a very large mixing bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt and set aside. Whisk the eggs and both sugars together in another bowl, until the sugars have dissolved. Stir the eggs into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour, ensuring it’s completely combined to give a smooth, glossy batter.

Pour the brownie mixture into the lined baking dish. Scatter the pecan halves generously across the surface, and bake for anything between 15 and 30 minutes. When ready, a small crack will have formed around the edges of the brownie, and the centre will still be a little wobbly. A skewer pushed into the centre should come out with large, gooey crumbs on it, but not coated in wet batter.

Leave the brownie to cool in its tin, then wrap the tin in cling film and chill overnight before cutting and devouring. This does demand serious willpower, but will give you the ultimate brownie - it’s worth the wait.

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