With heart in mouth I watched as CT picked a recipe for this month’s Random Recipe challenge, created by the dastardly Dom of Belleau Kitchen. This month we get to randomly pick any book in our collection and then randomly pick a recipe from said book. In my case this means a choice from my nine and a bit chocolate books, rather than my whole collection.
CT always does the honours so that I am unable to cheat. He’d already picked the book and it was the one I was most dreading, although I was also rather curious. I was given The new taste of chocolate by Maricel E Presilla many years ago and I have never made a single thing from it. Now why is that? It’s a lovely book and I enjoy reading it. It’s subtitle is: a cultural and natural history of cacao with recipes and that is what it is. Maricel was brought up in Cuba where cocoa was grown on the family farm. She gives a personal and informative account of the subject and there are many interesting pictures to peruse. The trouble starts when it comes to the recipes. Not only are they in US measures (and I do not get on with cups) but they are rather on the extravagant and complicated side. These two factors have combined to keep the book well clear of my kitchen. Thankfully CT picked a recipe for Flo Braker’s Tropical Night Brownies, which meant I had only one of my two aforementioned aversions to cope with – brownies are comfortingly easy. Perhaps, I was being a little harsh after all, Dom is a genius and his random recipe challenge is great fun.
Even if I’d wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to follow this recipe exactly. One of the problems with using cups as a measurement is that there is no standard UK equivalent. Every conversion table I’ve looked at gives a different result and who has a conversion for cocoa nibs? But apart from differences in the quantities used, I omitted the cocoa nibs as I had a bar of chocolate containing them that must have been waiting for just this occasion. I also used spelt flour and substituted vanilla sugar and some vanilla chocolate for the vanilla extract.
- Roasted 2oz cashew nuts in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes until golden, then chopped roughly.
- In a large pan, melted 5oz unsalted butter with 5oz cocoa nibbed chocolate (77%) and 2oz 85% dark chocolate.
- Stirred in 4oz vanilla sugar and 6oz soft brown sugar.
- Left to cool for 5 minutes then beat in 3 duck eggs and a tbsp rum.
- Sifted in 5oz flour (3oz spelt, 2oz white) and 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- Stirred in 2oz desiccated coconut and the cashews.
- Poured into a 9″ sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 17 minutes.
- Sprinkled the top with icing sugar.
- Cut into 16 squares.
Cooked to perfection (not something I always manage with brownies), these were dark, lush and delicious, especially warm from the oven where I just couldn’t help myself! They had a fragrant flavour which I can’t quite describe but CT thought it was fruity. They were wonderfully chewy, had a nice crunch to the top and were altogether addictive. I shall be making these again.