Last Italian lesson of the year. A quick recap of the basics:
Teacher: “Come ti chiami?” What is your name?
Easy. “Mi chiamo Barb.”
“Quanti anni hai?” How many years do you have?
“Ho ventuno anni.” I have 21 years (if only).
“Di dove sei?”
Ok, I know dove means where. So where are we? Aha: “A Roma.”
“No, DI dove sei?”
“No, no, no. DI. DOVE. SEI???”
HWW and I clutch each other in panic. “Agghh! Spaghetti? Cappuccino?? Mamma Mia???”
“WHERE ARE YOU FROM?”
Oh. “A Londra.”
As the teacher leaves and the door shuts behind her, I hear what can only be the sounds of a head banging repeatedly against a wall combined with loud sobbing.
So, to make up for being the worst students she’s ever had the misfortune to teach, I made her a batch of these Best Ever Chocolate Brownies. They are a bit of a faff to make but totally worth it. I added chopped up Mars Bars and white chocolate for a touch of extra decadence. My Italian friends can’t get enough of these and truly think I’m the next Fanny Craddock. If they knew who she was. And found her name in any way amusing…
Ingredients – makes 16 brownies:
185g butter, cut into small cubes
185g milk chocolate, broken into chunks (the original recipe uses dark but I prefer milk)
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate
50g Mars bars
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar
Put the butter and milk chocolate into a medium sized bowl. Place over a small saucepan, about a quarter full with hot water. The bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring to mix them. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool to room temperature.
Turn the oven on to 180C/Gas 4. Butter and line a shallow 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Break the eggs into a large bowl and add the golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes until thick and creamy.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the whisked eggs and sugar. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder. Very gently fold together with a spatula in a figure of eight movement. Add the chopped Mars Bars and white chocolate. Continue to gently fold together until you have a smooth, dark chocolately mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Gently shake the tin to get the top even. Put in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. If the brownie wobbles in the middle when you give it a gentle shake, it’s not quite done, so bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Remove from oven.
Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold, then lift out the brownie with the baking paper. Cut into squares. Share with friends…or long suffering Italian teachers.