Chocolate Brownies with Fudge Sauce

The saying 'as American as apple pie' could just as easily be made of chocolate brownies. The American love affair with chocolate is well known and in this rich and luxurious version of their ubiquitous classic dessert it is easy to understand why. It is incredibly rich, but try giving people very small portions and watch them come back determinedly for more. The quality of the chocolate is critical, and this is one recipe where an electric mixer is essential - it simply will not work with a food processor.

We serve this knock-'em-dead brownie with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream and fudge sauce poured over. Most people can still walk afterwards, though with difficulty. The fudge sauce is easy to make. It sounds like something from the children's menu of a fast-food outlet, but don't let this put you off trying it.

Ingredients

  • 115 g/4 oz best-quality confectioner's bitter-sweet chocolate
  • 115 g/4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100 g/ oz caster sugar
  • 1 large egg plus / extra yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 55 g/2 oz flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Vanilla ice-cream, to serve (optional)

For the Fudge Sauce

  • 250 ml/8 fl oz double cream
  • 285 g/10 oz sugar
  • 55 g/2 oz butter
  • 150 ml/¼ pt light com syrup
  • 150 ml/¼ pt milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 225 g/8 oz chocolate

Utensils

  • 25 cm / 10 in springform cake pan
  • non-stick baking paper
  • bowl set over a pan of hot water
  • electric mixer
  • sieve
  • skewer
  • heavy-based saucepan

Method

Mise en Place

First make the brownies: preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas3 and line the cake pan with a sheet of non-stick baking paper • Break the chocolate into pieces and put them to melt in the bowl set over hot water, making sure the bowl does not come into direct contact with the water • Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of the mixer and work at high speed with the paddle-type beater (as distinct from the whisk or dough hook) until a smooth creamed consistency is achieved. This takes a few minutes. Add the whole egg and the yolk together with the vanilla, continuing to beat until smooth. Then incorporate the melted chocolate while still beating. Finally beat in the sifted flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Cooking

Bake for 35 minutes, then test with a skewer, pushing it deep into the centre of the mixture. It should be moist in the middle and judging precisely when it is ready is not easy. I prefer it slightly undercooked in the centre, really moist and squidgy. Remember, it will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven. The cake will have risen, but will fall soon after you have taken it out Leave it to cool in the pan, standing on a rack, for at least 5 minutes before turning it out Leave on the wire rack to cool further.

Meanwhile, make the fudge sauce (here you are essentially making fudge but not taking it to the point where it sets solid). Cook all the ingredients except the chocolate in a heavy pan over a moderate heat stirring constantly until it goes a pale caramel colour. Remove from the heat and beat in the chocolate in pieces. Finish by stirring in one-third of a cup of cold water. If it is still too thick, continue adding water a spoonful at a time until you achieve a nice consistency.

Serve immediately or hold in a bain-marie. If made ahead and chilled, reheat gently in a bowl set over boiling water.

Serving

Cut the brownie cake in half and then cut each half into 4 wedges (the other half will provide second helpings or keep for later). Serve the brownies on 4 plates with a scoop of ice-cream, if using, on top of each wedge and the sauce poured over.

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