We have spent the last week or so camping at the beautiful South Penquite Farm on Bodmin Moor. Camping is great, especially with a young family, but it takes forever to get ready. There was so much gear in our car there was hardly room for me, and I spent the best part of last Saturday getting it all together. One of the essential pieces of kit was a good cake to munch on whilst wedged in to the car between pillows, sleeping bags and footballs. Thus I took a half hour break from packing to knock up some chocolate and walnut brownies for the trip. These keep for days so I made a double batch to share with the other familes we had persuaded to come camping in the rain.
I have made these hundreds of times before and have always been pleased with the results. They have a lovely dark chocolate flavour but plenty of sugar to give them the classic crisp brownie top and a nice gooey middle. In my haste to get this batch made and get back to the packing I accidentally improved the flavour by adding too much cocoa powder. The recipe below is basically the original (taken from a children's cookery book!), with some extra cocoa powder and Green and Black's 70% dark chocolate instead of child friendly chocolate drops. I have always used either walnuts or pecans but might try some with raspberries next time, just for a change.
Chocolate and Walnut Brownies
adapted from The Usborne Children's Book of Baking,by Fiona Patchett
100g dark chocolate, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
125g butter, softened
275g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
50g self raising flour
25g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
100g walnuts or pecans
Line a 20cm square tin with parchment. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating between each addition. Sift both types of flour and the cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the melted chocolate and stir. Add the chopped nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approxinately 35 minutes at 180 degrees.
The brownies went down well when we were trying to keep warm around the camp fire and were perfect for a pit stop on the Camel Trail. There was certainly no shortage of cakes at South Penquite this week. My Mum turned up with a yummy Victoria sandwich and a big box of cupcakes, and the farmer's son had set up business selling his homemade cupcakes to all the happy campers in the games room. All this on top on of pasties, ice cream, cream teas and chips - our diet is less than healthy when we're back in Cornwall. At least the air is clean!