Hello there! How has your week been?
My week has been crazy – busy, stressful, difficult, challenging, but also exciting, fun and rewarding. Last week, my second year of my degree started. So I am in week two now, and already have an assessment due tomorrow!! They give me no time to get into studying again, haha, just straight away – full on! Which is good as well, since I am terrible at ‘doing nothing’. It makes me quite restless, so having lots to do is better for me. Except for the stressing factor, that I already have experienced a lot lately. Maybe not the best week to do another bake you may say? Well, I have to do something to clear mind as well, right?
So this week, I have decided to make brownies. I am sure I don’t have to give any reason to make brownies – I mean I have never met someone who did not enjoy them. But I do have a couple of reasons 🙂 (to make the brownies even better haha). Firstly, chocolate contains several good chemicals that make you happy (tryptophan and phenylethylalanine) and a stimulant (theobromine) to help you relax and wake up. So if you’re stressful and battered out, chocolate is your best friend :). Another reason for the brownies this week, is that I think they are a good food to celebrate! And I have some things to celebrate! I finished my first assessment without last minute work (which feels a bit nerve wrecking and a bit good haha). But my other reason to celebrate is more exciting, and needs a bit of explanation. At my university, there is a student association. They do many different things, but one of them is that they make a cookbook each year, for the students, full of students’s own recipe. A lot of volunteers work together to make this cookbook. And this semester they were (amongst other positions) looking for a volunteer Graphic Designer. So I applied, since this would be an awesome opportunity to learn a lot and improve my skills! My interview was last week, and this Monday I got to know that I am the Graphic Designer for this year’s cookbook :)! So more work for me haha, but I am excited to dive into this project. I have lots more to learn, so bring it on! I’ll keep you posted on how the cookbook is going 🙂
Enough talking, more baking, more brownies.
For the brownies, I choose Delia Smith’s Four Nut Chocolate Brownie recipe. Her brownies are absolutely divine already (so you can also decide to stop reading here and just go for herrecipe haha). I adapted the recipe a bit – I used only three kinds of nuts and added poppy seeds. I love poppy seeds, but always seem to forget about them. So I figured, let’s try if they go well with chocolate! And of course, I added a bit of cinnamon, how could I resist that? They came out sweet, gooey, chocolatey, nutty – just yummy.
I have to give you Delia’s advice before starting the brownies: ” You need to get into the brownie mood, and to do this stop thinking ‘cake’. Brownies are slightly crisp on the outside but soft, damp and squiggly within. ” So now you know this, bring on your brownie mood and enjoy!
Poppy Seed and Nut Brownies
Makes a lot of brownie – easily divided into 20 good squares.
- 140 g nuts (can be any kind you like – I used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds)
- 80 g dark chocolate (preferably 75% cocoa solids or more)
- 130 g butter
- 3 eggs
- 250 g brown sugar
- 75 g flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the tin you want to make your brownies in with baking paper (any shape will do, I had one cake loaf tin and one round one).
- Place the nuts on a baking sheet with baking paper. Roast them in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn!!
- After the nuts are done, set them aside in a bowl to cool down.In the meanwhile, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Allow the chocolate and butter to melt and then beat until smooth.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Chop up the nuts roughly (not too small) and fold them, together with the poppy seeds, into the brownie mixture.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Bake the brownies for 20 – 25 minutes in the oven or until it is slightly springy in the centre.
- Leave the brownies in their tin for 10 minutes, before cutting them into squares and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely (or before you pop these warm and gooey brownies in your mouth). I hope you like them!