Chocolate brownies are (nearly) everyone's favorite dessert. Bake two batches, one with and one without nuts, so everyone can enjoy them.
Packaged in an airtight container, the brownies will stay fresh for up to six days. You can make the brownies in advance, freeze them and leave them to thaw in a tin — there will be no excess moisture.
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
8 oz. butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
2 Tbs. hot water
8 oz. superfine sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. self-rising flour
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips or small chunks of bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and line a 12x9-inch baking tray with parchment paper. Put chocolate pieces and butter cubes in a bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter slowly in a double boiler: rest the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water on a low heat.
3. Dissolve the coffee granules in the water in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Then beat in the chocolate mixture.
4. Fold in the flour, chocolate chips and nuts. Pour the mix into the tray. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Don't overcook them or they will lose their soft, fudgy quality; look for a dull crust to form, then quickly take them out of the oven. Cut into squares once cool.
Excerpted from A Greener Christmas
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2008