Great British (Budget) Bake Off: Chocolate Brownies

For this week’s Bake Off blog we created everybody’s guilty pleasure: the chocolate brownie. Yes, we know it was ‘Batter Week’ on the most recent GBBO, so we’re cheating here a little bit by not doing anything batter-related, but we’ve never known students to make their own identical lace heart pancakes, and brownies are nicer anyway!

What’s great about chocolate brownies is that they’re really quick and easy to make, the ingredients are cheap and, best of all, your housemates will love you for making them! So before we get baking, here are the vitals…

Equipment Ingredients
Scales 185g unsalted butter
2 mixing bowls, preferably glass ones
(you’ll see why later!)
85g plain flour
Measuring jug 40g cocoa powder
Pan 100g dark chocolate
Baking tin 50g white chocolate
Wooden spoon 100g milk chocolate
Whisk (optional) 3 large eggs
Sieve (optional) 275g golden caster sugar

Now onto the method!

All Ingredients
Things didn’t stay this clean and tidy for long…

First, weigh out 185g of butter and put it in your mixing bowl. If your butter is quite hard then cut it into chunks so that it melts quicker during the next step. Break up all of the dark and milk chocolate and put that in the bowl with the butter. For the dark and milk chocolate I picked up the ‘Tesco Value’ option at 30p per bar, then pushed the boat out a bit for the white chocolate and bought Milkybar for a pound.

Next, fill a saucepan up to about halfway with boiling water and place it on the hob. The idea is that you sit the mixing bowl on top of the pan of boiling water, which slowly melts the butter and chocolate pieces into smooth chocolaty goodness.

This is also where it’s important that you all learn from my amateur mistake and don’t use a plastic mixing bowl! As you can see in the image, smart alec here used a plastic bowl, which subsequently melted all over the hob. Fail. Mourning the loss of my only mixing bowl and the majority of my ingredients, I retired for the night to rebuild my baking confidence for attempt number two the next day…

Schoolboy error

Once the chocolate and butter (and plastic in my case) has melted together, take the bowl off the pan and leave it on the side to cool down.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling down, pop the oven onto 180C to give it plenty of time to pre-heat. It’s also worth greasing the baking tin at this stage so that the brownies won’t stick to it during the cooking process. This can easily be done by putting some butter on a clean piece of kitchen roll and wiping it around the sides and base of the tin.

Crack the 3 eggs in the second mixing bowl or a jug, followed by the whole 275g of caster sugar. Now it’s time for a mini workout – you’ll need to whisk the mixture until it’s thick and creamy, which will take about 5 minutes. If you’re a very under-equipped baker like I am and don’t have a whisk, then a fork will do the job. Once that’s done, combine the egg mixture with the melted chocolate and stir for a minute or so.

Brownie Ingredients all in Collage
The second attempt went much better!

Next weigh out 85g of plain flour and 40g of cocoa power and tip them both into a clean bowl. The cocoa powder was by far the most expensive thing that I bought at £1.99, however, if you shop around I imagine you can get it for about half that price somewhere. If you have a sieve then use it to sieve the cocoa powder and flour into the mixture you just created. If you don’t own a sieve then use a fork to break up any lumps in the flour or cocoa before it goes into the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Finally, the last thing to do is to break the white chocolate into small pieces and chuck them into the mixing bowl with everything else.

Pour this mixture into your greased baking tin, pop it in the middle of the oven and wait around 25 minutes for the magic to happen (or pray that the magic happens, depending on how confident you are at baking)!

White Chocolate and End Result

The tricky part here is not to overcook the brownies – we want them to be nice and gooey in the middle, not too cakey. After 25 minutes, if you stick a knife into the middle of the brownie and a bit of mixture sticks to the knife then that’s ideal.

Once they’re out of the oven, resist the temptation to tuck in and let them cool for about half an hour. Once that torturous 30 minutes has passed, cut them up and fill your boots (or be a good housemate and share them out)!

Move over Mary Berry!
Move over Mary Berry!

Without counting the new mixing bowl and new ingredients I had to go and buy, the brownies cost under a fiver to make. Budget baking at it’s finest!

Let us know on Facebook or in the comments how yours have turned out, especially if you’ve had any of your own baking disasters!