Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fair Trade Toffee Brownies

The other day, just before Grant toddled off to his job in remote WA, I made the exceptionally ill-advised decision to bake a batch of brownies. The intention was good - I always send him away with baked goods, which he then uses as a means to bribe the guys on his work sites. Apparently it works a treat. Buuuut the fact that only 2/3 of the brownie fit into the container I was sending him away with, coupled with the fact that I have a propensity to comfort eat, did not bode well for my waistline.

I don't think I've mentioned it on my blog before (I've been too busy swanning about the South Pacific on a cruise ship - more on that another time), but Grant and I got engaged late last year. If you want to see a picture of the ring, either check out my FB profile picture, or jump on the Michael Wilson website. My ring is the Anise (2nd row, 2nd from the left) and it's GORGEOUS. This is one such instance where beauty is NOT only in the eye of the beholder!

My point is, you'd think that with a wedding less than ten months down the track, I'd be starting to think about trying to look my best for our big day. But no, when I saw yummy toffee brownies in front of me, I kind of went OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. Silly Nessa.

Then again, Grant proposed to me while I was wearing hi-vis and had frizzy hair, so maybe the bar on personal appearance isn't quite so high after all...??

So I thought I'd share the fatness recipe with you. It's from the Fair Trade cookbook, which Grant bought me from the Oxfam shop (in the knowledge that I was into tree-huggery stuff) when we first went a-courting. I am somewhat ashamed to admit it is the first recipe I have cooked from it in all that time, but in my defence, the recipes LOOK more complicated when they have the words "fair trade" in front of every freaking ingredient! And I thought it was only fitting that he should be the beneficiary of the first recipe from the book, and this is one of the only transportable recipes - thus far, most of what I've sent him away with have been from the CWA Biscuits & Slices book Jordana gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago - so there you have it.

I'm actually in my sometimes-home caravan park cabin in Barham and don't have the recipe in front of me, but I will do my very best to remember it for you. I really am winging this... And if it's horribly wrong when I check it, I'll change it.

Obviously you mix it well between each step.

1. Melt 100g dark eating chocolate and 30g (40g??) of butter in a large bowl over boiling water (don't let the water touch the bowl)
2. Mix in (this is where I start to struggle) 230g (???) castor sugar (I remember vaguely wondering whether it equated to 2/3c but then didn't actually bother measuring to verify!)
3. Add 3 eggs, lightly beaten, and mixed with 1tsp vanilla essence (I may be getting this mixed up with a gingerbread recipe I recently made... one had one egg and one had three... but I'm pretty sure I have this the right way around!)
4. Add 300g plain flour, sifted, with 1tsp baking powder mixed in. Mix batter around until fairly smooth and no dry ingredients remain
5. Add 200g (???) chopped pecans
6. Meanwhile (and I'm not sure how you can actually "meanwhile" this, because it requires a fair bit of attention), unwrap an entire packet of Columbines (the recipe called for 205g of "fair trade toffees" and that was my best guess as to the equivalent product), unwrap them, restrain yourself from eating them (SO HARD!!!) and place them in a saucepan on low heat with 300ml of thickened cream. Stir until melted (tip: don't let the Columbines touch the bottom of the pan without cream as a barrier, as I suspect it would burn very quickly)
7. Spread 3/4 of chocolate mix into pan lined with baking paper (the recipe said what I took to be a lamington tin (approx. 20x30cm shallow pan), but when I looked at my lamington tin I just knew it wouldn't hold the batter, so I went for a deeper, square cake tin)
8. Top with 2/3 of Columbine/cream toffee mixture (reserve the rest for decorating - the coconut you see in the photo isn't in the recipe; intead, they melt more dark choc and drizzle the toffee and the melted dark chocolate over the top. Also, the fact I didn't need to re-melt my toffee makes me think that Columbines aren't quite rigid enough, but it tasted great!)
9. Top pan with rest of chocolate mix and bake at 180oC (160oC F.F.) for 40-45 minutes. It's baked when it's firm to the touch
10. Let cool in pan 20 mins then turn onto wire rack (or if you're a dumb-dumb like me, forget about it for an hour... buuuut it only seemed to make it moister!). Decorate when cool (or sooner, if you're impatient, like me!)

Now, hopefully I got the recipe mostly right (the only parts in question are the castor (that's right, people, you should be spelling it with an O!!!) sugar and the flour, but I'm pretty sure the flour is right because I remember getting a bit anal about it with a teaspoon and a set of scales) and it turns out looking something like this:

But then I realised that there was something missing:

That's better.

There's greens on it now!

In the end, I ate the above piece for lunch on the day he left and popped the rest in the freezer... but I look forward to the day I bust 'em out and - I'm told - reheat them with some fudge sauce and a wee bit of vanilla icecream. Yummo spagummo!


  1. Oh my!!! Nom Nom Nom is a very appropriate response. Yummy. Thanks for sharing - so glad I found your site on 20sbloggers.

    Hope you get a chance to check out mine. Recipes, restaurant reviews, found food articles and food photos at:

    Follow me and I'll follow you.

  2. Done!

    Your savoury recipes look delightful, Ms. Morgan. You have inspired me to put a little bit more effort into my everyday cooking :)


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