Brownies seem to be endlessly adaptable. I’ve made them with ginger, with nuts, with more and more and more chocolate. I think I must try them with mint. And possibly orange, although I’m never quite sure about chocolate and orange, and thoroughly disapprove of orange anywhere near milk chocolate.
But this weekend it’s all about the sophisticated flavour combo of cardamom and chocolate. I have to credit both The Times and West London’s favourite provider of baked goods: Cocomaya. So, thank you. And I hope you don’t mind me re-producing your recipe here.
I’m looking after my nephews this weekend, so am cooking in a less familiar kitchen, although having a Rayburn to bake in is a delight and reminds me of happy happy childhood weekends, baking scrumptious goodies for the family.
Posh chocolate brownies in a Le Creuset dish
Cardamom chocolate brownies
250g unsalted butter (I used slightly salted as that was what was in the fridge)
15 green cardamom pods
100g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
350g dark chocolate (at each 70% cocoa solids)
250g muscovado sugar
50g caster sugar (I used a combination of soft dark brown and soft light brown sugar)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
15 x 20cm cake tin… I couldn’t find the right size, so ended up using a le creuset oval lasagne style dish, approximately the right size
Oven 130C, GM2. The Rayburn was on medium, which is probably slightly higher than recommended
- Grease the baking tin
- Slightly bash the cardamom pods and extract the black seeds, throw away the green dry husks
- Put the butter and the cardamom seeds into a small pan and melt. Set aside for a few hours. If you have an Aga or a Rayburn then leave it on the side where it can remain liquid.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl
- Place the chocolate in a bowl and strain the butter onto it. Place over a pan of simmering water to melt
- In a large bowl mix the sugars together and squish out any lumps. Add the eggs and mix. Don’t beat, you don’t need to add air to this mixture (although I was reading a Hugh Fearnley Whatsisname recipe last night which says you beat for 4-5 minutes at this stage to incorporate lots of air. I didn’t and it worked out REALLY well).
- Add the chocolate-butter mixture and stir through
- Fold in the flour, followed by the salt
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin – spread into the corners if you need to.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. The recipe states only 20 minutes, and in the end I baked it for just over an hour and it still has the lovely squidgy gooey-ness.
- Leave to cool and then cut into pieces. I note that Cocomaya decorate theirs with gold leaf. Feel free to do the same if you have any spare gold leaf hanging about in your cupboards.
My brother wants a tablet recipe to bag up and sell at a fair… and so I have been tasked with giving him the best tablet recipe I know.
Hmmmmm… I used to have a good plain tablet recipe, but not sure where it is right now, possibly in the flat in Edinburgh. But never mind, I have an array of Sue Lawrence cook books here, and she is the most reliable recipe writer I know.
So, I give you White chocolate and cardamom tablet
Sue Lawrence instructs you to follow these instructions to the letter. I would urge you to do the same. There’s nothing worse than attempting to make tablet and ending up with soft goo. Or something that sets too hard and too quick and is impossible to cut into cute wee squares. OK, there are actually some things worse, but you know what I mean.
125g / 4 1/2 oz unsalted butter
1kg / 2 1/4 lb golden granulated sugar
300ml / 1/2 pint full fat milk
a pinch of salt
200ml / 7fl oz condensed milk (this is half a regular can)
100g/ 3 1/2 oz quality white chocolate, grated
7-8 cardamom pods, snipped open and seeds crushed (about 1tsp)
Butter a 23cm x 33cm Swiss-roll tin
- Place the butter in a large heavy based saucepan and melt slowly.
- Add the sugar, milk and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved, still over a low-ish heat. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat too high, you don’t want it to boil before the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and simmer over a fairly high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, getting into all the corners.
- Add the condensed milk, chocolate and cardamom and simmer for 8-10 minutes over a medium high heat, stirring constantly. Turn off your phone, or if you don’t , ignore it if it rings.
- After 8 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and test the contents for readiness: it should be at the ‘soft ball’ stage which means that when you drop a little of the mixture into a cup of very cold water, it will form a soft ball that you can pick up between your fingers. If you are using a sugar thermometer, it should register 115C / 240F.
- Remove the mixture from the heat at once and beat with an electric beater (set at medium speed) for 4-5 minutes (or by hand for 10 minutes) until the mixture begins to stiffen a little and become ever so slightly grainy.
- Immediately pour it into the prepared tin and leave to cool.
- Mark the tablet into wee squares when it is almost cold.
- When it is completely cold, remove it from the tin and store in an airtight container or wrap in waxed paper.
I haven’t made this for years, but I love it. The white chocolate and cardamom isn’t overwhelming but adds a slight sophistication to this ultimate Scottish home made treat. Whoever saw a bag of tablet for sale that wasn’t ‘Homemade’?