The hex factor: Halloween (or anytime) brownies
MAKES 1 TRAY FOR SLICING
300g dark chocolate (about 50 per cent)
180g lightly salted butter, diced
180g light muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs plus 1 egg yolk extra
115g ground almonds
100g plain flour
15g cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp dark rum
70g chopped dark chocolate (about 70 per cent)
★ Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. 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 orange juice and rum, and finally fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour the mixture into a nonstick brownie tin (about 23cm square x 4cm deep).
★ Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the outside edges of the brownie are risen and slightly cracked, leaving just a few gooey crumbs clinging when tested with a skewer. Run a knife around the edges and leave to cool in the tin overnight. Trim and slice into squares (9 jumbo, 16 medium or 25 mini). Dust with cocoa powder.
DECORATING TIPS Make chocolate icing by mixing 5 tbsp icing sugar with 3 tbsp cocoa powder and just enough water to combine. Add a dab to each brownie and finish with bought or homemade edible decorations. We used Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing (from lakeland.co.uk) to make our pumpkin shapes and rice paper for the ghost shapes.