Although it’s now September I’m still clinging onto summer… as you can probably tell by the ingredients in this recipe. As the school season begins and autumn creeps in I can literally see summer fading away. It’s not like I hate autumn, I love all the seasons… ok except spring!
Summer isn’t particularly my favorite season either. But, I just love the impact the sun has on people. We become instantly happier and at peace it seems. People get together in the garden and they dress up even if they’re just going food shopping because it’s so damn hot and sunny!!!
However, I also cannot wait for autumn to begin as I love the auburn colours of the leaves turning on the trees. There’s a long road on the way back from my old school (I start sixth form this month AAAGGH!) which is lined with oaks and in autumn we’d promenade down that road and these beautiful golden jewelled trees loomed over us as we journeyed home.
So, to commemorate the transition from summer to autumn I have created these basil and raspberry brownies. For me brownies are stodgy, and gooey delights you eat as it gets colder. The ideal hibernation food! And the pungent smell of sun-kissed basil and the vibrant colour of raspberries evoke summer in it’s purest form.
You may be thinking it’s rather odd to add basil to brownies. However, this combination is a magical one I promise. The raspberries also compliment the dainty, herby taste of basil perfectly. (I’ve noticed that raspberries work particularly well with herbs). I must forewarn you though that this recipe calls for a ton of basil in order to extract enough of it’s delicate flavour.
You may notice that in my ingredients I suggest using salted butter. Obviously you don’t have to do this however, I prefer the taste salted butter gives my bakes. It may seem unhealthy as you don’t know the amount of salt going into your baking, but you will notice I never add extra salt to my recipe if I have used salted butter in the recipe.
(This recipe makes 12 brownies).
- 300g dark chocolate (broken into squares)
- 250g salted butter
- 3 eggs
- 250g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 50g fresh basil
- 115g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder/bicarbonate of soda
- 100g white chocolate (chopped into chunks)
- 125g raspberries (a small punnet)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or 170 for fan assisted ovens. Grease and line an 8/9 inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Make sure the greaseproof slightly overhangs so it’s easy to pull out the brownies once cooked.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. (Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water underneath). Let it melt stirring occasionally to help the chocolate and butter amalgamate. If you notice the water underneath begins to boil turn the heat down or off. Once completely melted take off the heat.
3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs until they’re pale, airy and frothy. In a food processor, spice grinder or Nutribullet etc blitz the basil with half the sugar until a dark black paste is formed. Then add this paste along with the remaining sugar to the eggs and beat until incorporated. In a steady stream pour the melted chocolate into the eggs at the edge of the bowl so you don’t knock out all the air just created and beat the mixture constantly so the eggs aren’t cooked by the hot chocolate.
4. Fold in the flour and baking powder/bicarb. and once just incorporated, fold through the white chocolate so it’s all evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the tin and make sure it’s level. Finally scatter over the raspberries and then bake for 45-50 minutes (although check after 45) until the top is set and slightly cracked but, if you insert a skewer a few moist crumbs will be stuck to it.
5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for half an hour, then lift out of the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely. These brownies are best served warm the same day but will last for 3 days kept in an airtight container.