Blogger Recipe Series: {My Go 2 Girl} Parushinee Naidoo’s Chocolate Brownies

Parushinee has every girl’s dream job. She is a professional personal shopper,fashion stylist,gifting guru and event planner. Running her lifestyle concierge business, My Go 2 Girl, she has her finger on the pulse of current trends. I first met Parush a year ago when she was working on a marketing campaign that involved macarons. We quickly realized that we were similar in that we were both trying to get our businesses off the ground while still maintaining our roles as full time wives and mothers.

Parushinee has a great sense of style and class and it’s reflected in the work that she does and the unique and creative concepts that she comes up with. This week she is sharing with us her decadent but simple recipe for Chocolate Brownies. What more could you ask for!

INGREDIENTS Sugar, chocolate, vanilla and eggs….these are a few of my favourite things. I was a late bloomer when it came to baking. Confronted with my daughter Shyla’s first birthday, I decided to try and bake my first cake, ever. I’m sure my husband still has nightmares about that day, but 7 hours later, I had a fairly pretty, though somewhat lopsided butterfly cake. I have come a long way since then and now the creaming sugar and butter is second nature. I love the science of baking, the anticipation, the smell that fills my kitchen and the challenge of presenting something that tastes and looks amazing.

I must say though, I love simple recipes that turn out to be fabulous masterpieces. That’s why I love my chocolate brownie recipe so much. It’s a one bowl recipe, which I so do love because it means minimal clean up. The real beauty is in the brownie itself….the gooey chocolate centre! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoy making it and eating it.

image1image1image1

Chocolate Brownies

INGREDIENTS

  1. 250g melted butter
  2. 2 1/3 cups of castor sugar
  3. 90g good quality cocoa powder
  4. 1 cup of plain cake flour, sifted
  5. ½ teaspoon of baking powder, sifted
  6. 5 eggs
  7. 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
  8. 1 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 165 0 Line 2 x 20cm square baking tins or one large slice tin with baking paper
  2. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  3. Sprinkle in cocoa powder and mix until combined and has a gooey consistency.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to mix through before adding the next
  5. Rain in flour and baking powder with electric mixer on low speed , beating until well combined
  6. Stir through peanuts and chocolate until combined
  7. Pour equal amounts into tins and smooth over the surface with a palette knife
  8. Bake for 40min until firm edges but still a little soft in the centre
  9. Leave to cool for at least 30min before slicing. Alternatively you can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge.

Be sure to let me know if you’ve tried the recipe and how it turned out.

Enjoy!

xxx Viveshni

Advertisements

HumpDay Help: My top 5 reasons your cakes may be flopping

hump day help

There was a time a little while back when I was having no joy with my cupcakes or cakes. As hard as I tried to stick to my recipe they kept sinking while they were cooling. So I did some research and spoke to some people and here are my top 5 reasons that you cakes may be flopping.

1. Are you following the recipe correctly? Baking is all about chemistry and ingredients reacting together to get the desired result, in this case, a cake that rises properly. If you were for instance to add too much baking soda, then too much of air would be created within the cake when it’s baking and when it’s resting the cool the air will escape and cause the cake to sink. Ingredients are also not interchangeable. You cannot substitute baking soda for baking powder.

2.Did you overmix the batter?  Recipes will often say ‘Mix until just combined’ . They say this for a reason. When adding in your flour you do not need your batter to be smooth and silky, you need the ingredients to be at the point when they just combined. Overmixing will cause too much air to be incorporated into the batter and cause air pockets in the cake. So, like with the baking powder when this air is let out of the cake, the cake will sink. We tend to get a bit carried away using our big mixers so be careful and use the machines on a low speed.

3. Is the oven temperature correct?  The temperature of your oven is an important factor in the baking of your cakes. If its running too hot or too cold there is a good chance your cake will sink. I would suggest investing in an oven thermometer if possible. Also opening the oven door to check on your cake will drop the temperature in the oven every time you do, so try not to open the oven door for about the first 80% of the baking time.

4. Are your ingredients fresh?  So this is where the fault in my baking lay. Baking powder has a shelf life of 6 months to a year, if stored correctly and even though it’s such a small percentage of your ingredients it an cause all kinds of drama. In my case, I was convinced by someone at the store that I buy my ingredients to buy the store brand of baking powder. It had obviously been on the shelf for a while and hence was the root of my sinking cake debacle. I’ve learned my lesson!

5. Did you take it out too soon?  The tried and tested method for checking if a cake is done is to insert a clean skewer into the center and if it comes out clean it’s done. I’ve found that this is not always 100% effective for me so I rather use the spring test. If, with a finger,you gently press down on the center of the cake or cupcake and the sponge springs, back its ready to be taken out of the oven. If you leave a little dent in the sponge it needs a little while longer to fully bake.

*Just as an extra tip: Preheating your oven is an important step that needs to be followed

IMG_7409-0

I hope that these tips help and please comment below if there are any others that you can think of.

Happy baking!

 

signature sign off

 

 

Photo Credit: Nicky – PolkaDots and JellyTots / Products made by Madame Macaron

Aging Egg Whites

20130528-222715.jpg

There are a lot of macaron recipes that call for aged egg whites ( including the one i will be posting soon) and you may be like I was and ask what the heck an aged egg is.

Well, aging egg whites basically means separating your egg whites and yolks, and storing your egg whites in a loosely covered container in a cool dry place for 24 – 48 hours. Thereafter you can put it in a fridge in an airtight container.

So why do you have to do this?

The reasoning behind it is to dehydrate the egg whites as much as possible. This causes the egg whites to lose elasticity and helps you gets a stiffer meringue and the right consistency of batter for the perfect macarons. Just remember, that if you have had the egg whites in the fridge, you need to take them out and let them come to room temperature before using them.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that there must be a shortcut, because really, who has 2 days to wait for your egg whites to dehydrate when the macaron craving calls.

Luckily, there is! After a bit of research I found out that if you haven’t had time to leave your egg whites out to age you can pop them into the microwave for about 10 seconds. This mimics the aging process to a degree, but you have to be careful not to put them in for too long. You want dehydrated eggs, not cooked.

I’ve used this method more times than I can count and I have to say that my macarons have actually, on many occasions, turned out better than with just traditionally aged egg whites. There are also a lot of sites that say you don’t have to age your eggs at all. In the end it’s all up to you to try it out and see what works best for you.

So that’s the low down on aging eggs.

Happy Baking!