Best-dressed brownies: Parma violet brownies
MAKES 1 TRAY FOR SLICING
300g good-quality dark eating chocolate (about 50 per cent)
180g lightly salted butter diced
180g light muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs plus
1 medium egg yolk
115g ground almonds
100g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cherryade
1 tbsp violet liqueur (or flavour to taste with a few drops of violet essence)
70g chopped dark chocolate (about 70 per cent)
- Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3½. Break up and gently melt the 300g dark chocolate with the butter in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and extra yolk one by one, beating after each addition and continuing to beat at the end until very glossy and amalgamated.
- Gently fold in the ground almonds. Sift over the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Fold these in gently without overmixing. Stir in the cherryade and liqueur, and finally fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour the mixture into a nonstick brownie tin about 23cm square x 4cm deep (if not nonstick, butter and line it, allowing a paper overhang for lifting out). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the outside edges are risen and slightly cracked, leaving just a few gooey crumbs clinging when tested with a skewer. Run a knife around the edge and leave to cool in the tin overnight.
VIOLET BOUQUET Serve the brownies plain or dusted with cocoa. Or make an icing by mixing 5 tablespoons icing sugar with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and just enough water to combine. Apply a dab to each brownie and finish with crushed parma violet sweets and crystallised violets (or whiz some to a powder and dust over the top).