Monday, 20 December 2010

Chestnut Brownies

There seems to have been a recent spate of Dan Lepard's chestnut brownies appearing on food blogs and I didn't want to be left behind! We were visiting friends for dinner and I thought these would make a rather nice after dinner treat - or at least I hoped they would.

I had very kindly been sent another bag of Chocolate by Trish that I wanted to try out - 74% cocoa solids this time, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  For those that didn't catch the last batch I had from her, take a look at this ganache recipe.

When I went to the cupboard to get out my jar of organic chestnuts that had been lurking there for quite some time, I was surprised to find it was a jar of chestnut puree.  Oh well, never mind, I would adapt the original recipe to take the puree into account and do without a contrast in textures. As I was somewhat stretched for time, I used my all in one pan method to make these rather than whisking the egg whites separately etc etc. This is what I did:
  • Melted 175g unsalted butter with 200g 74% dark Chocolate by Trish in a large bowl over hot water.
  • Stirred in 150g dark brown sugar until all the lumps had been incorporated.
  • Beat in 240g jar of sweetened chestnut puree (could have eaten spoonfuls of this on it's own it was so delicious, but managed to resist).
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs.
  • Stirred in 100g wholemeal spelt and a pinch of salt.
  • Poured into a 9" square cake thingie and baked at 175C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool, then cut into 36 small squares.
Nearly every new brownie recipe I make I think it's the best one I've ever done and this was no exception.  The smell of the mixture baking was wonderful and each dense choclatey square smelt wonderfully of both chocolate and chestnuts. A crisp top followed by a deep dark smoothness, that isn't fudgy or gooey but is moist and uncakelike - it melts on the tongue and lingers in the mouth. This is rich for a brownie, all that lovely 74% chocolate and it's not too sweet either.  I think I got lucky with this puree, it was thick and almost creamy and tasted of marron glace - a flavour which was very much there in the finished brownie, playing its own role alongside the good strong taste of chocolate.

Most of these disappeared during a prolonged post dinner fireside chat, but I had thoughtfully kept a couple back for home consumption.  We had these cold from the kitchen the next day and they were still delicious.  They were differently delicious with a new fudgy consistency which was very moreish - unfortunately that was our lot.

The dark Chocolate by Trish didn't disappoint.  I couldn't help but try a few of these buttons. They had a fragrant fruity aroma which was the first note to hit the tongue followed by varied spicy notes. I had to restrain myself from eating more as they were so good. Like the milk chocolate buttons these melted beautifully and being such a dark chocolate gave a really rich quality to the brownies. Luckily, there were some buttons left over and I'm planning to use these to make some chocolates for Christmas.

35 comments:

  1. chocolate chestnut brownies - now there are three words that reallllly belong together! Heaven

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  2. Oh YUMMO!! They sound wonderful. Funny you have posted this recipe today, I've just made a Christmas Brownie recipe too, not as grand as yours though but great minds must think alike lol

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  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE the chestnut so I bet these brownies were exceptional... i've been baking crazy today too... so lovely when the house fills with the aroma of baking x

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  4. Sounds lovely! they look lovely and moist and soft.

    I have some of those chocolate buttons too!

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  5. Mmm these sound amazing.
    Happy Christmas and New Year Choclette. Mx

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  6. There is nothing I like better than taste testing dark chocolate. Finding all those subtle chocolatey tones that lie hidden within the dark goodness.
    And dark goodness is what your brownie looks like :-)

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  7. I have one tiny precious tin of chestnut puree (which costs about as much as gold puree here) which I don't think I could bear to use in brownies unless I ate them all myself. That doesn't seem to be in the spirit of Christmas so I might just have to make these and share them!

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  8. Oh I have to try these - can't wait!!!

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  9. I could never resist these. You always make something fantastic! I love how moist these look.

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  10. chestnuts in brownies sound like fine festive fare - will be bookmarking these and rushing out for jar of chestnuts - or hunting for one at least as is the case in my neck of the woods!

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  11. Sounds delicious! I definitely have to give this a try.

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  12. These sound absolutely incredible! I love darker desserts that are less sweet - so these sound perfect! Very intrigued by the texture, as you described they as fudgy yet not gooey - very interesting. I wish I could try one!

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  13. sounds interesting and looks perfect

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  14. mmm those brownies look so moist and rich! It must be fabulous being a close aqquaintance to you and getting to taste all these choccy delights!!

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  15. chestnut in brownies? something new! looks amazing =) and wow look at that gigantic bag of chocolates makes me happy. i saw a recipe for beetroot brownie, which sounds gross but looked decadent!

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  16. just catching up on my reader by deleting most of the unread posts and promising to do better next year!
    Saw this recipe and thought of you though :o)
    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5046/chocoholics-christmas-pudding

    Have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011. N x

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  17. like the idea of one pan method, i seriously envy the the out door photo shoot you make all the time :) lovely brownies!!

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  18. CC - chocolate and chestnuts is certainly a winning combination in my book.

    Chele - it never ceases to amaze me just how many brownie recipes there are.

    Dom - so agree, our house always smells lovely for hours after I've been baking - who needs pot pourri?

    Helen - thanks. What did you think of the buttons - or is it another wait and see?

    Maggie, thank you and wishing you the very same.

    CityHippy - dark goodness, wonderful words.

    KitchenMaid - don't they grow chestnuts in New Zealand? It must be hard deciding what to do with something so precious, but I don't think it would be wasted on these.

    BVG - look forward to hearing what you have to say, if you do try them.

    Bridgett - thank you. They were moist and would have kept for ages I think - if they hadn't all been eaten!

    Johanna - CT informs me that there are large chestnut plantations in Victoria, so hopefully you will be successful in your hunt.

    Baking Addict - look forward to seeing what you think if you do get around to making these.

    Hazel - I found it quite difficult to describe the texture of these, but they were really good.

    Sushma - thank you

    Catherine - thank you. Fabulous or fattening - now there's a debate!

    Les Reves - I think you may well be right - luckily for me I have so many new things to try, it may take a while before I manage to make another batch of these.

    Tamanna - yes a big bag of chocolate makes me happy too :) I've tried beetroot brownies. The ones I made were good, but nothing to rave about -a great colour though.

    Nic - thank you for the link and the wishes. My intentions in other blog readings are always higher than I manage to achieve, but I'm hoping to catch up a bit after xmas. Merry Christmas to you too.

    Ananda - always happy to have less washing up to do :) My indoor photos are so rubbish, I try to take photos outside. Much harder now it's so much darker, but I guess not as dark as Finland.

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  19. Oh how perfect for Christmas feasting! Merry Christmas!

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  20. I am definitely making these, they sound wonderful

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  21. Foodycat - thank you.

    Peasepudding - do let me know how you get on if you do make them.

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  22. I'd definitely make these next Christmas - to serve instead of mince pies.

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    Replies
    1. Good idea Maya. I haven't made them since and I really must as they were very good.

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  23. Fabulous recipe, just love chocolate brownies, an interesting combination with chestnuts.

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  24. could an addition of cherries or buts be added ?

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    1. I meant nuts typo

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    2. The first coment does sound interesting though! ;0)

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    3. Apologies for not replying before now, this one escaped me. I think you can add whatever you like to brownies. I personally wouldn't with these as the chestnut flavour is fairly delicate and might be lost with additions.

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  25. These sound totally delicious - something that I must try!

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  26. Sound delicious, and I must admit as I get older (48) I now like dark (higher) cocoa content. Never could stand the stuff untill my mid 30's. I was wondering is this normal as palates mature or is is just down to preference / the person concerned.

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    Replies
    1. My palate has certainly changed over the years and although I still have a sweet tooth, it's not nearly as sweet as it used to be.

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