Before I begin, I want to say a big HELLO to all my readers and followers, and thank everyone for being with for so long. I’m finally at a 100 followers, and that is a HUGE DEAL for me! Especially since lately I have been less-than able to dedicate blog-time. Nevertheless, I’m back, and this time with a special treat for a special person 🙂 aka, my DAD, also known as ‘the-person-who-annoys-me-the-most’ 😀 Isn’t that what all Daddies do? 😉
Mine does, and he’s the one I get into the most fights with too, mostly because he’s extra over-possessive about me *insert eye roll* But still, he IS my Dad, and I DO LOVE him to bits!!! ❤ so I made him a treat (for Father’s day), and since he’s extremely addicted to sweet things, that’s what he got, a sweet treat, BROWNIES!!!! Fudgy, gooey, oh-so-rich and god, I can go on and onnnnnn….
Before I go any further, I must tell you that Monsoon is upon us, and has cast its gloomy, dreary shadows upon the world of daylight. Now I don’t have any fancy equipment, studio, or artificial lights, so I have to depend on daylight for my pics. And with the temperamental weather, my pics haven’t come out as I’d hoped… sniff sniff…
Now, I’m not a very occasional baker; mostly I do not get time, and also, there aren’t many people to eat my creations but the three of us at home, and I do NOT want to turn into any more of a walrus than what I already am So I bake rarely, and when I do, I MUST turn them into worthwhile treats! Funnily enough, I have never baked a brownie before (unless you count the one time I baked at a friend’s house some 7 years back, and then when I made a brownie base for a cake). And yet, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BROWNIES!! Fudgy brownies, rich and dense, chocolaty and irresistible, and this is one of those times when I’ve really lived up to my expectations 😀
As this was to be a surprise treat for Dad, I wanted to give the brownie a face-lift 🙂 Now I’m a “Daddy’s Girl”, make no mistake, and even with the amount of times I’ve wanted to crawl up the wall, he’s the only ‘man’ in my life I care about 😉 So I dressed up the Brownie with some Hazelnut Buttercream, added a dollop of homemade Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread, and finished off with some toasted Hazelnut bits.
I’ve never had the combination of Brownie-with-Hazelnut, but I’ve had them with a Nutella spread, so I had a feeling the Hazelnut Buttercream would do justice. 🙂 I must confess here that I finished about 30% of the Brownie before anyone had a chance to dig in 😦 and thus, I have now guilt-tripped myself into abstaining from sweets for a week.. *sniffle*..
I’m sure all my baker friends know how there are 3 types of Brownies; Cakey, Fudgy and Chewy, and my personal favourite is the Fudgy ones, though I wouldn’t mind a Chewy brownie once-in-a-while. But if you fed me a cakey brownie, I swear, there’d be hell to pay! 😛 I’ve also read that good quality chocolate gives a Brownie its richness (apart from butter and eggs), which is why I’ve used Callebaut 54% dark chocolate as my base, along with some Milk compound 🙂 They’ve certainly lent the Brownie a wonderful richness, and it only gets better the next day (if you can wait that long 😉 )
The Hazelnut Buttercream is pretty straightforward, almost like Peanut Butter in a way, and pipes great! I was torn between a Hazelnut Whipped Cream and this, but decided to go with the richer one, since I’m going to hell anyway 😉 As for the Hazelnut-Chocolate spread, you can just go ahead and skip it, or make-do with Nutella if you have it on hand. I didn’t, made my own, and have now sworn off store-bought spreads completely…as much as I can. It’s time-consuming, but way healthier 🙂
Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with Hazelnut Buttercream (& Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread)
Note: These brownies are dense and fudgy with a tiny bit of chewiness, and though I lack a ‘crackly top’, they taste delicious. I suggest you bake as given in the recipe and not experiment, to attain the perfect brownie 🙂
Ingredients: (Makes one 9×9 inch Brownie)
- Unsalted Butter – 1/4 cup or 57 gm (if using salted butter, skip the salt)
- Flavourless vegetable oil – 1/4 cup
- Brown sugar – 1/2 cup (100 gm)
- Granulated white sugar – 1/2 cup (100 gm)
- Semi-sweet Chocolate chips or any good-quality chocolate broken into pieces – 227 gm/8 oz (I used 125 gm of Callebaut dark callets and about 100 gm Milk chocolate)
- Eggs – 3, lightly whisked
- All-purpose Flour – 2/3 cup (85 to 90 gm)
- Salt – 1/4 tsp (skip if using salted butter)
- Grease and line a 9×9 inch square baking tray with parchment paper, leaving at least a 1 inch edge, hanging over the sides of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 175 C/350 F.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the oil, butter and the chocolates. Melt the mixture in a microwave, in bursts of 20 seconds, or over a baine-marie/double-boiler.
- Mix well, and when the mix is completely melted and smooth, add the sugars.
- Once the sugars have mixed and combined well, let the mixture cool to room temperature, and add the lightly whisked eggs, bit by bit, and whisk until fully combined.
- Lastly, add the flour and fold it in gently. Ensure there are no lumps, but don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap to let air bubbles escape, and bake for 25 to 30 mins; a toothpick/skewer inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs. If the toothpick comes out clean, the brownie has overbaked, and if it’s still gooey, let it bake for 3 to 4 more mins.
For the Hazelnut Buttercream:
- Hazelnuts ((toasted and skin rubbed off (or buy skinned hazelnuts)) – 1/2 cup or about 50 gm
- Butter – 2 tbsp, softened
- Icing or powdered sugar – 2 tbsp
- Fresh cream or double cream – 4 tbsp
- Toast the hazelnuts and once cooled, rub off the skin.
- In a food processor, add the hazelnuts, softened butter, sugar and cream.
- Whiz until the mixture resembles smooth peanut butter.
- Refrigerate until use.
- For the Chocolate-Hazelnut spread, mix some dark chocolate ganache with the Hazelnut cream (2:1 ratio).
- Refrigerate until use.
Assembly: Once the brownies have cooled enough to slice (refrigerating for a few hours helps), slice a piece shaped like a bar. Pipe on the Hazelnut Buttercream on top, sprinkle some toasted and crush hazelnuts, and finally, quenelle a bit of the Chocolate-Hazelnut spread on the plate. Garnish with chocolate curls, etc.
SERVE COLD unless you’re planning to serve it with ice cream. In that case, gently warm the brownie in a microwave and serve with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate/caramel/salted caramel sauce!!