Toffee brownies

Do you remember how I told you about Yotam Ottolenghi, the guy who turns even muffins into something complicated?

He does the same thing with brownies.

Normally, brownies are about the simplest thing you can make: the best example of low effort/high pay-off cooking, a totally unchallenging one-bowl affair, where the only thing you can possibly mess up is the baking time. An overbaked brownie ain’t no brownie. Well, now I think of it, I remember the time my daughter (aged 11) and her friend made brownies and forgot to add eggs. That did not end very well, though the resulting product still got eaten. Mr. Ottolenghi’s brownies require more than one bowl and more than one baking tray. You have to make butter toffee first, which is a little stressful as it threatens to split most of the time. But all’s well that ends well and it usually comes together if you whisk vigorously.

And if you give it a go, you will find that a soft fudgy brownie with crispy shreds of butter toffee and swirls of apricot jam is a result worth almost any amount of washing up.
I made these on Friday before we left for a week-long visit at my sister’s in the Czech Republic, packed them individually and planned to give them to my sister upon arrival. But somehow they disappeared along the way. Probably evaporated.

Toffee brownies

From Yotam Ottolenghi: Ottolenghi, the Cookbook

The recipe said it would make 8-10 slices, I cut them in 16 squares and considering the richness (300 g of chocolate!) found them large enough.
200 g unsalted butter, plus melted butter for greasing
280 g plain flour
½ tsp salt
300 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 free-range eggs
220 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
140 g apricot, banana or raspberry jam
Butter toffee:
25 g unsalted butter, plus melted butter for greasing
75 g caster sugar

1. Start by making the toffee. Lightly brush an oven tray (not the one you will use to bake the brownies in) with melted butter. Put the butter and sugar for the toffee in a heavy-based saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns a dark caramel color (at one point it might seem the mixture has split; it will come back together when you stir vigorously). Carefully pour the toffee on the buttered tray and leave aside until it sets.
2. When you are ready to make the brownies, brush a 22 cm square baking tin with melted butter and line with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius/ Gas Mark 3. Stir together the flour and salt.
3. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally from time to time. As soon as the butter and chocolate have melted, remove the bowl from above the water. This is important! You need to avoid getting the mix very hot.
4. In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Work them just until combined, a few seconds only, as there is no need to on corporate any air into the eggs. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture and then the sifted flour. Break the toffee into small pieces and fold them in as well.
5. Pour the mix onto the lined tin. Drop the jam in spoonfuls into the mixture and swirl it around with a knife.
6. Place on the center shelf of the oven and bake for roughly 25 minutes. When you stick a skrewer inside your brownie, it must come out covered with lots of gooey crumb, not with dry crumbs, but it must not be the type of wet mix you started off with. Once out, allow to cool on a wire rack before removing from the tin. Cut into any shape you want and keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

15 comments for “Toffee brownies

  1. Stuart
    21/09/2012 at 00:53

    These are the best brownies ever, and I have tried many. Certainly not healthy but why would you comtemplate healthy brownies? Go make some ricecakes or something.

    • vera@gtc
      21/09/2012 at 06:10

      So true, so true 🙂

  2. Anu
    04/09/2012 at 02:58

    Thanks for responding to my comments. Have signed in to receive updates from your blog. So will be in touch. Tomorrow is Teacher’s Day and traditionally I have baked for the teachers. This year, as last year, will be baking Chocolate Chunk Cookies which are a big hit. Bought the boxes yesterday. Now getting down to baking…Will have to bake at least 12-14 batches of cookies. 4 -6 cookies per teacher and she will give them to 18 teachers!! Whew…I’m already tired!!!

    • vera@gtc
      07/09/2012 at 09:31

      So brave of you to take this on alone! I’m sure the cookies were great.

  3. Anu
    03/09/2012 at 11:56

    Amazing recipe…have been searching for the perfect Brownie forever. Found it now! So decadent. Many thanks for sharing the recipe. Have to order the Ottolenghi CookBook too.

    • vera@gtc
      03/09/2012 at 18:44

      I just made today – again. It’s my children’s all time favorite brownie, too! And the Ottolenghi cookbook is definitely worth buying.

  4. nükhet kuzuoğlu
    14/06/2012 at 18:31

    you are using too much butter and chocolate. it is not a healthy recipe.

    • vera@gtc
      15/06/2012 at 17:21

      I would definitely not dare to call this recipe healthy or recommend it for everyday eating. But it is delicious as an occassional indulgance.

  5. Jane
    30/04/2012 at 13:38

    Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids 🙂
    I also like the below traditional brownie recipe.
    Thanks for sharing,

  6. 01/03/2012 at 02:00

    Love these brownies, especially the toffee and the jam on top! Gorgeous clicks!!

  7. 01/03/2012 at 01:50

    These toffee brownies bsolutely gorgeous! This looks like a heavenly treat for any time of year or month….or day!! Good grief I could eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yum!

    • vera@gtc
      06/03/2012 at 20:44

      They are rather irresistable, we ate all of them during our 7 hour drive to the Czech Republic (breakfast + lunch :-)) Fortunatelly, there were 5 of us in the car and I had to share!

  8. 29/02/2012 at 21:56

    oh my gosh.
    i love how fudge-like these are. and you captured it perfectly in your photographs!
    the combination of flavors is to die for, too.

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