Tuesday, October 7, 2008

nutty brownie

I love to bake. However, I have found that brownies have, to date, been the bane of my existence and my Archilles' heel (remark to Eddy, Eddie, Supercute and Blackninja - if you are not sure what this phrase means, please check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles_Heel).

When I first started baking cakes in the 1980s, my cakes always did not rise. I could not understand what was wrong. Subsequently, my mother's friend gave me some tips on baking cakes:-

(a) It is important to follow the recipe closely unless you know how to vary the recipe. As a novice baker, I was advised not to vary the recipes until I got the hang of baking cakes.

(b) Do not open the glass door to check the cake before the cake is done, no matter how tempted you may be. Each time you open the glass door, the sudden change in temperature can cause the cake to collapse.

(c) Use self-raising flour instead of plain flour mixed with baking powder.

I have also learned through trial and error that the secret to moist cakes is to add oil. I would recommend using peanut oil.

I have reached the stage where my cakes will rise every time I make them. However, when it comes to brownies, to date, I can never be sure whether the brownies will turn out fine. I have yet to learn what is wrong and I hope to master the skill of baking brownies soon. If you have any tips to ensure successfully-baked brownies every time, I would be grateful if you could share the tips with me.

In the meantime, here is a brownie recipe that you may like to try. I made the brownie on Sunday night (5 October 2008). I brought some to work the next day and I also gave Da some to bring to his office. Both containers of brownie were finished very quickly. Yippee!

65g Hersheys cocoa powder
80g self-raising flour
2 tbsp Milo
220g soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground hazelnut
100g crushed peanuts
1/3 cup peanut oil
4 eggs
40ml milk
125g butter (softened)


1. Sift the cocoa powder, self-raising flour and Milo.

2. Add the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground hazelnut, crushed peanuts and peanut oil to the flour and cocoa powder and mix well.

3. Beat the egg and milk well. Add the butter and mix thoroughly.

4. Stir in the flour mixture together with the egg/milk/butter.

5. Grease a 9" square baking pan with margarine/butter and line the insides of the pan with baking paper.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan.

7. Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degrees celsius for 40 minutes or until a toothpick insert into the brownie comes out clean.

8. Cool thoroughly before cutting the brownies.


1. The brownies go well with a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream.

2. I would prefer to use chopped walnuts instead of chopped peanuts. The problem is that it is not always easy to buy fresh walnut meat. Some of the walnut meat sold in stores do not taste very fresh. This may be because walnuts are not a popular ingredient used in baking.

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