"Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of."
I can vouch for the sugar, heck maybe even a bit of spice, but clearly the author of the poem forgot the most important part. That indulgent secret of the ancient Aztecs: liquid gold, aka chocolate. Show me a woman who can refuse chocolate. Only a few of us are strong willed enough. The rest succumbs weak kneed every time to the magical promises of the wonder drug, telling ourselves "just one more bite".
When our first godchild was born - a little boy - I celebrated by making savoury muffins. This time around the kidlet on the way is a little girl and when I was asked to bring something edible to the babyshower it was virtually impossible to drag my wandering thoughts away from chocolate-y treats. I also wanted to try and incorporate the theme "A touch of pink" and so I scoured the online world for berry filled brownies.
I was all set to go. Until I got to our local grocery store (who shall remain nameless - they can be thankful for that!). Now I didn't expect to find fresh berries, after all, it's definitely not in season. But the frozen goods aisle was devoid of berry goodness as was the tinned goods aisle.
I very nearly stomped my feet and made a scene (to accomplish what, I don't know), when I remembered that I still had a bag of dried cranberries at home. And wouldn't their tart chewiness be the *perfect* counterpart to the oozy chocolate surrounding them? 'Course yes. Not to blow my own horn, but the brownies were a hit. Of course, it was bound to be, what with the insane amount of chocolate and butter that went into them.
These cranberry chocolate brownies are definitely not your everyday snack - for that they are far too rich. But if you need a pick-me-up or perhaps you're celebrating a little girl of your own, these are absolutely perfect. And naturally, only women are able to fully appreciate them. At least, that's what I like to tell TheHusband in order to make sure I get more than my fair share. You'll back me up on that, won't you?
Cranberry Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Coconut & Lime
Makes about 24
150g dried cranberries
185g (3/4 cup) salted butter
360g (8 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cake flour
1. Place cranberries in a small bowl with hot water and allow to soak for 15 - 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) pan and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a fairly large saucepan over medium-high heat. Turn heat off and add chocolate pieces, stirring until all is melted.
4. Remove from the stove and add sugar, stirring to combine. Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition. The batter should look glossy at this stage.
5. Add vanilla essence and cranberries, gently stir through, then add cake flour and mix thoroughly to ensure all is evenly incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick.
6. Spoon batter into the greased pan, smoothing on top, then place in oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before slicing into squares. Brownies will keep in the fridge for a few days (if you're able to make them last that long...).
When I made these brownies, I drizzled the top with a simple icing made of icing sugar, a tiny bit of water and a drop of red food colouring for a touch of colour, but this is entirely optional and doesn't really have much of an effect on the taste.