I’ve got to confess, I’m not much of a baker. In fact I think I’ve told you that before, but 2013 has begun with an immense project on the horizon and I’m going to have to learn, and learn fast. So I’m seizing the opportunity of being snow-bound, to practice. In the oven, as we speak, is a tray of hazelnut brownies made using nutella and I can’t wait for them to be ready. But my first attempt last week using a different recipe ended in catastrophe. It doesn’t matter who’s instructions you follow, everyone says the same thing. You HAVE to wait for them to be completely cool before you take them out of the tin and cut them. Well maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini, or maybe because I’m a greedy slut, but the recent batch found themselves turned out far too early, the whole thing cracked into 3 ragged bits and I had to bodge it together and cut into uneven-sized, craggy pieces which really bugged me, also probably because of my Gemini-ness. They tasted gorgeous but had to be disguised beneath a blob of vanilla ice-cream, so this time I have much higher hopes, and it looks as though my first guinea-pigs will be the guys from Grays Garage in Warwick who have volunteered to deliver my Fiat 500 back to me as I’m too chicken to retrieve it! On the way back from dropping her off this morning I twice lost control of the little panda they lent me coming into the village and the brakes kept failing on the snow. Since wrapping my beloved Figaro round the trunk of a tree 3 years ago after skidding on black ice, I tend towards a nervous disposition in these conditions! So now I’m stranded at home, with little more than a tray of nutella brownies, a gorgeous blond puppy, and a bottle of frangelico to keep me company. What more could a girl want!
I got the recipe from the Scandilicious blog, courtesy of Signe Johansen.
- 125 g butter
- 75 g cocoa powder
- 175 g nutella
- 2 whole medium eggs, plus 1 medium egg yolk
- 150 g icing sugar
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 shot of espresso (not vital but I used it)
- 50 g chopped toasted hazelnuts (best if you do your own – just roast the whole hazelnuts in a hot oven for 10 minutes or so then chop them)
Before you begin, set the oven to 150 and line a 15 x 30cm or 20 x 20cm tin with non-stick greaseproof paper.
1. Melt the butter and then stir in the cocoa and nutella
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs using a fork or whisk, but just combine, don’t make them fluffy, then add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and stir to combine
3. Add the flour, salt, vanilla, hazelnuts and coffee and mix together
4. Tip into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes, then check with a skewer. You want a very little of the mixture to still be sticking to the skewer but for it not to look completely raw! If you think they need longer then cook for a further 2 – 5 minutes but keep checking every 2 minutes and use a timer!
5. VERY IMPORTANT: LEAVE TO COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE REMOVING FROM THE TIN AND CUTTING INTO SQUARES!
So the reason I need to learn to bake cakes is called The Milk Shed. If all goes to plan it will take over my life and I won’t have a day off for the next year or so let alone a holiday or a life, but I’m ready. And the blog will be part of it so that’ll continue. It’s early days so I won’t bang on but rest assured, once we get to the next stage you’ll be sick of hearing about it!
Don’t forget: The Milk Shed. Cafe, ice-cream parlour, and store. To begin with at least.
Then: Book, tv series, Hollywood movie about my life (I’ll be played by Scarlett Johansson. Or Emily Blunt. I’m easy!) followed by world domination.
Watch this space!
And, Happy New Year xxx