There is little in the world that is quite as tasty as a chocolate brownie, and although they sell these in most supermarkets, they never taste quite as good as when they are freshly baked in your own oven. And if they are still just a little bit warm when you eat them, why not cool them down with a great big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In our opinion, the perfect chocolate brownie should be soft, firm, moist and a little bit fudge-like in the centre, with a soft skin on the top, which is what the tray-bake recipe below should end up like. However, some people prefer something altogether more crumbly and cake-like.
Eat them on their own or add them to a chocolate sundae with lots of sauce, the choice is yours. Whatever you decide, they probably won't last long once you take them out of the oven and their tempting chocolatey smell starts to fill the house, saying 'Come and eat me!'
300 grams / 10 1/2 oz of caster sugar
250 grams / 9 oz of plain / dark chocolate
250 grams / 9 oz of either margarine or butter
75 grams / 2 1/2 oz of plain white flour
75 grams / 2 1/2 oz of cocoa powder
50 to 100 grams / 2 to 3 1/2 oz of chopped walnuts or pistachios (optional ingredient, add quantity to personal taste)
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Break roughly 200 grams / 7 oz of the plain chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl resting above hot water, being careful not to get any water droplets in the melting chocolate. Remove once thoroughly melted.
In a separate bowl, start mixing the margarine (or softened butter) together with the sugar to form a light cream and add in a spoonful of the cocoa powder. Beat in the eggs one by one, until you have yourself a light creamy batter. At this stage, mix in the melted chocolate.
Chop the remainder of the plain chocolate and the walnuts (optional recipe ingredient) and add these to the brownie mixture, along with the plain flour, the cocoa powder, the salt and the baking powder. Fold all of these ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the chocolate brownies into a tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper and smooth evenly, so that the mixture reaches the corners. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven set to 180°C for around 30 minutes, checking on progress after 20 minutes and possibly turning the tin around (depending on your oven), so that it cooks evenly.
Once cooked, leave the tin to cool down before cutting into squares or rectangles and serving to your friends - or just eating them yourself. You'll find them very hard to resist.