Many-splendoured Every-one-is-different Brownies
This December I was lucky enough to go and see Carlos Acosta’s A Classic Selection at the London Coliseum. The name was evocative of a box of brightly wrapped, secret-inside chocolates and the performances all lived up to their promise. There was a fantastic version of Je ne regrette rien performed by Yuhui Choe, Nisi Dominus with Zenaida Yanowsky and the more classic Dying Swan and La Sylphide among the treats. And then there was Acosta in Diana and Acteon. Only the most stunning dancing could allow a man to get away with such a ridiculous costume, and Costa succeeded. The clip below shows him performing it a few years ago (as there are no clips of any of A Classic Selection yet on YouTube) but it was just as good when I saw him just a week after his last night at ROH.
These brownies are many-splendoured in much the same way as A Classic Selection because they have Celebrations chocolates stirred into them resulting in each brownie being different. The recipe was originally inspired by a lady called Jane Holden.
I produced them for the twenty-guests I had the other weekend and they went down well with all (although some people preferred the flapjacks) as well as with those who kindly helped to make them.
Follow this link for a recipe for brownies with berries.
Recipe for Many-Splendoured Brownies
This is what you will need and what you have to do to make 16:
- 100g bar dark chocolate – minimum 70% cocoa
- 200g/7 oz/four-fifths of a brick of butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp Madagascan vanilla paste
- 360g/2 cups soft brown sugar
- 200g/1⅔ cups self-raising flour (or plain flour plus a couple of tsp of baking powder)
- A pinch of salt
- 280g/10 oz Mars’ Celebrations (Roses, Heroes, Quality Street don’t work so well) – unwrapped – they come in boxes of 380g so I am sure you will find someone to help you polish off the rest.
- Heat the oven to 180ºC or use the bottom right oven if you have an aga
- Grease a baking tin
- Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bain marie making sure the water in the lower half does not touch the bottom of the upper half. If you use quite a big bowl over a saucepan of water you can save on the washing up
- Take off the heat and mix in the sugar
- Mix in the eggs and the vanilla paste and the salt
- Sift the flour into the bowl and stir well
- Pour half the mixture into the baking tin
- Spread the Celebrations evenly over
- Pour over the rest of the mixture, covering all the Celebrations
- Bake for 25 minutes – whatever you do, don’t overcook or they become dry.
Keep in an air tight container
This post is dedicated to Jane Holden, whoever she is…. adding in Celebrations was a stroke of genius
Carlos Acosta in Diana and Actaeon