I know this all seems very decadent for a Tuesday night in January, when most of us are trying to either stay dry (you must be joking - I'm moving house in a few weeks), or shed the Christmas pounds (well, maybe), but I'd invited some friends round for dinner, and on reflection was not very pleased with the pudding I'd planned - stewed gooseberries (from the freezer) meringues and cream. The meringues had been a little overcooked - and I'd made them with vanilla sugar - so were on the 'caramelly' side, and I just wasn't sure about the gooseberries - despite plying them with elderflower cordial and sugar, they were still very tart. I like that, but others don't. So in true RJ style, I had a minor panic and decided to knock up an alternative using what I had.
Fortunately, what I had included chocolate and a pack of macadamia nuts, bought for another purpose which never materialised (as is often the way with me). I was rootling round for some rum, mindful of previous succesful brownie pairings, but I couldn't find any so Cointreau seemed like a good alternative. In truth, the capful I added didn't seem to make a huge amount of difference, but I might add a bit more next time, just to see. For what it's worth, I might also chop up the nuts a bit if I use them again in this way.
As usual with brownie, I had the agony of when to take it out of the oven. After 20 minutes the top was looking dry, there were a couple of cracks, and a gentle press revealed plenty of squodge underneath, but in the interests of them not being too squodgy, I gave them a couple more minutes, and they came out pretty perfect. Always a risk though.
Macadamia & Cointreau Brownie
180g unsalted butter
180g dark chocolate
1 capful of cointreau
3 large eggs
250g soft brown sugar
115g plain flour
small pack of macadamia nuts (around 150g)
Baking tin, lined with greaseproof paper. My tin is about 20 by 24 cm
Break up the chocolate and cube up the butter and put into a biggish pan over a gentle heat to melt.
Once melted, add in the cointreau, stir briefly and set aside for a few moments.
Beat together the eggs and sugar, then beat into the slightly cooled chocolate, then stir in the nuts and flour.
Scrape into the tin and bake for between 20-25 minutes - bearing in mind that over cooking leads to lack of squodge.
Allow to cool and cut into squares.
In the end, we had both - the meringues, gooseberries and cream, AND the brownie. Like I said. Decadent.