Sunday 17 June 2012

Brownie points

Lily and schoolfriend decide to do some baking while I'm out this afternoon. When I get back, the kitchen is spotless and they're watching Mamma Mia.

'There's a surprise over there for you,' says Lily, not looking up from the screen.

I search the kitchen and find in the warming oven of the Rayburn a large baking tray of chocolate brownies (or, strictly speaking, chocolate brownie, as it has not yet been cut into pieces). I take it out and scrutinise it for flaws. There don't seem to be any. I am surprised, however, that the mixture has filled the entire tray.

'Which recipe did you use?' I enquire.

'Nana's usual one,' says Lily.

'Because there isn't usually enough mix to fill a tray this size. Did you increase the amounts?'


I cut up the brownies and when they're cooler, try and transfer them to a rack. They collapse. I squeeze some of the mixture that's stuck to the pan into a ball and pop it in my mouth. Mmmm. Delicious. Incredibly rich and gunky. Much richer and darker than our usual recipe. I am puzzled but let it go, not least because Colin Firth is singing Our Last Summer.

Later, we're having sausages and baked potatoes. I ask Lily to get the butter.

'There isn't any.'

'There's some in the freezer.'

She does her 'Oops, guilty' face. 'We used it all.'

'But there was a whole new pack.'

'I know,' she says sheepishly. 'We used the whole thing and the one in the fridge.'

'But the recipe only needs half a pack,' I say, getting up to go and check. I pull out the bulging recipe folder from the cupboard. Yes, here we are. On a much-stained handwritten sheet torn from a notebook is the list of ingredients.

4oz butter
2oz unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs
5oz sugar
2oz plain flour
1 teasp baking powder
1/4 teasp salt

'There,' says Lily, pointing to the butter. '402.'

The girls have diligently weighed out 402g butter, 202g chocolate (creatively topping up the dark chocolate with cocoa powder and a good splash of milk to give it a melted chocolate consistency), 502g sugar and 202g plain flour.

Delicious, though. Must try same conversion technique for future recipes.

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