This is the third post where I make no apology for not posting about what I’m going to bake but quite fucking frankly I cant be arsed with it anymore after seeing that only 2 people read the last one I did.
This week I thought I’d not be as lazy as I was with the banoffee pie and actually used the oven. I figured something chocolatey would be good as chocolate is my cocaine. Fuck it, brownies. Not just brownies, but salted motherfucking caramel brownies because I am a classy bitch.
The first recipe I used came from the man I had the biggest crush on growing up, Jamie Oliver. And that was the only reason I went with him.
The other recipe I used came from the Guardian website. The bitch who posted it claimed the brownies are ‘perfect’. Well, we’ll see about that. I sourced all my ingredients and didn’t take a picture of them like normal because my head wasn’t in the game but whatever it’s not like you care.
[imagine a picture of ingredients set against the background of the two canvas pictures we have hanging in the kitchen]
I started with who I imagine would be the perfect husband. AND NO I DON’T FUCKING CARE THAT HE GOT RID OF TURKEY TWIZZLERS IT’S BEEN LIKE 10 YEARS GET OVER IT. Though in fairness, if your parents didn’t love you enough to make a packed lunch for you, maybe turkey twizzlers were the only thing that gave you hope that life was worth living.
I set out my ingredients and heart skipped a beat when I looked at how much butter was being used. Literally. My heart is so clogged with cholesterol from this baking every weekend.
The first instruction was to make an odd vanilla-cream mixture. I poured the cream into a bowl and added the butter. I then had to add a vanilla pod. Now, I had a good old wander around the baking aisle last week to get a good idea of what my local supermarket stocks, and I specifically remember seeing vanilla pods because I recall gasping in horror at the price. I also remember there being at least 39439 bottles of vanilla essence.
I walked into Sainsbury’s to obtain the pod…and there was not a fucking hint of pod nor essence. The aisle was completely derelict of these products. HOW MANY PEOPLE IN WANTAGE COULD POSSIBLY BE USING VANILLA POD AND ESSENCE OVER THE WEEKEND?? So, I had to buy the the motherfucker you see to your right. Vanilla paste. EXPENSIVE vanilla paste, and a fair amount of it. Everything I bake for the next 2 months are going to be recipes that require vanilla. The bottle told me that 15ml was the equivalent to one pod, which I thought was pretty good to know…but completely useless if you don’t own a measuring tube that measures tiny quantities, like you’d find in a science lab. I guessed. I mixed the whole lot together and ended up with a runny substance that smelled delicious. Too delicious. Some may have ended up in my mouth but that is neither here nor fucking there. I’ll be judged at hell’s gates.
I popped it to the side and attempted to scrape all of this sticky vanilla shit off of my spoon.
The next step was to concoct the salted caramel. Essentially, melt the sugar with the golden syrup. At first I thought there was nowhere near enough syrup and I was getting pissed of that I couldn’t stir the mix but eventually everything conformed, without burning or sticking to the pan.
After it had melted into what looked like caramel, and had burned the top layer of my tongue off when I was stupid enough to taste it, I had to add a pinch of salt. A PINCH???? Wtf is a pinch when it’s at home? What if you abnormally large hands? To be honest, I couldn’t be fucked to google it so I just threw it what I thought was probably ok.
I swirled it all together and things looked pretty good- it actually looked reminiscent of the caramel you would find in a bar of Dairy Milk, which we know is the god of all chocolate. Hershey’s can go fuck itself. Bloody Americans ruin everything.
I mixed both the cream and caramel mixtures together on a low heat, then took the pan off the hob. Whilst it was cooling slightly, I lined a small tin with wet baking paper? Wet? Yeah, like that wasn’t a fucking nightmare. We all know what happens when paper gets wet, and I did end up with a soggy and ripped mess, but I trust Jamie Oliver. I know he’d treat me right. I poured the caramel in and whacked the tin into the fridge.
Jamie told me to go relax for a bit so I went to relax and certainly didn’t spend too much time thinking of that picture of him. Just before the caramel was ready, I had to make the brownie mixture. A simple procedure – melt butter in pan, add the 95% of chocolate you have left after eating a few squares, ’cause u a fat biatch, then whisk in the eggs and fold in the flour. I was a bit worried when I added the eggs, as things started to look a bit…gloopy. I mean, I know eggs are gloopy…but most cake mixes are more creamy. I added the flour and the the mix turned into more of what I expected, a normal looking and amazing tasting bowl of happiness. I poured into a WELL greased tin. You all know that I can’t release a cake from its tin without the thing falling apart, but I have even worse luck with brownies for some reason. I greased the pan, added the baking paper, greased the paper, and very carefully spread the mix in. After doing so, I retrieved the caramel from the fridge and spooned dollops of the golden greatness on top of the mix and gave it a swirl. I could have eaten that whole tray in it’s raw state but what with the recent egg crisis I thought perhaps it wouldn’t be a great idea. Edwina Currie would be impressed with me.
Easily the most beautiful thing in that kitchen was this mix.
I hurled it into the oven and went back to relax in the lounge, where Lee had fallen asleep in a hungover stupor. I don’t know what the fuck he was drinking on Saturday night but the result was not pretty. He did briefly stir from his slumber to tell me he was hungry but fell back to unconsciousness pretty quickly. What a fucking state.
I checked on the mix 5mins early so the incinerator had less chance of burning my brownies to a crisp, and discovered they were indeed ready to come out in all their glory. It didn’t look as attractive as when it went in the oven but that was to be expected. After they had a good time to cool, it was time to release them. I held my breath, grabbed the edges of the paper, and lifted…and like a baby during a natural birth (absolutely disgusting, as you’ll know if you’ve ever watched one down the business end), it shot out of it’s cave. Even the paper peeled away easily. I was fucking impressed with this, so I think from now on I am going to use the grease-paper-grease algorithm for everything I bake. I cut them into squares and placed them in an attractive presentation (again, classy bitch.) I then washed the pile of dishes I had created and set out to make the next batch.
Like with my Jamie’s recipe, the first step was to make a caramel. The big difference I noticed here was that I wasn’t instructed to add any liquid to the melting sugar so I did wonder whether it was going to dissolve or just burn to the pan. I tried it none the less and my faith wavered…the sugar remained solid. Until the 12th swirl of the pan, when everything suddenly melted and I had a nice looking caramel coloured sludge. After I got to that stage, I had to add the butter, cream, and salt. Gave it a stir. Standard. Again, the next step was the same as the previous recipe- pour it into a lined baking tray. I actually tried the wet paper technique with this one as well, as it did actually work with Jamie’s recipe. I catapulted the tray into the fridge and went to sit down and google more images of Jamie Oliver. I don’t even care that his tongue is too big for his mouth.
Shortly after saving 34 photos to my phone, I got up to make the brownie batter. I melted the chocolate in the microwave (a fucking beautiful sight) and completely ignored the instruction of toasting the nuts. Because I omitted the nuts (the nuts were indeed optional in this recipe.) I knew that, providing both recipes went well, I would be taking the large majority of the brownies into work because fuck eating that many brownies. I mean, I could easily and happily do it, but I’m meant to be on a diet. I work for a ‘leading UK law firm’ and if someone went into anaphylaxis because they ate a nut, I imagine I would be sued to fuck and quite frankly a bitch aint got the money for any defense if I went to court. So yeah, no nuts.
Anyway. Whilst the chocolate was cooling off, I beat the sugar and butter together. For some reason, my electric whisks didn’t cope too well with this which I thought was strange, but that’s probably the whisks’ fault, not the mixture’s.
I ‘gradually’ added each egg. I don’t wtf the point of that was, because I had to continue to beat the mixture for another 5mins and if the eggs aren’t incorporated at that point then maybe the Guardian has to sort their shit out. After it a silky sheen had appeared on the mix, I folded in the chocolate and other dry ingredients. This took time. I hate folding, every time the spatula turns over a new pocket of flour opens up. I carried on regardless and ended up with a nice
tasting looking batter. Into the tin it went and I dolloped the caramel on top of it and gave it a swirl. I flung it into the incinerator (again, on a slightly lower temperature and a timer set 5mins early) and went to load the dishwasher with all the dirty bowls. I honestly don’t know how these recipes produce so many dirty dishes, considering I reuse the bowls. I mean, luckily, we have about 230 bowls/dishes/plates in the cupboards so I don’t run short, but I really cannot be fucked with dirty cutlery after I spend 4 hours baking.
After they were done (and not burned to a fucking crisp) I took them out of the oven and, once cooled, released them from the tin. Like with the previous recipe, these brownies came out a treat and didn’t stick to the paper. I cut these brownies up and placed them neatly on a plate. As I said, I’m a classy baking bitch now. As you can see, there were minimal casualties upon peeling. In face, the larger chunk you can see on the left was a part I had cut off due to it being slightly singed. Success.
As per fucking usual, Legend Lee Perkins was the taste tester (he truly is fucking loving this). This week, we blindfolded him so presentation didn’t influence what he thought. I thought this might not be the best week to start doing that, partially because our blindfold was somewhere under the bed, and because both batches looked pretty much identical.
When it came to taste, he preferred the Guardian’s brownies. He said he could certainly taste more of the salted caramel. He didn’t dislike the other batch, but he did claim Jamie’s were slightly dry. Fine by me. He wont be laughing when I leave him for the Naked Chef.
All in all, I preferred Jamie’s, I promise it wasn’t because I fancy him a bit too much. Unlike Lee, I had a centre piece brownie which was much more gooey. Once Lee had a centre piece as well, he agreed that they were not as dry as he first thought.
- Difficulty: 5/10 (making the caramel was the most difficult part and even that wasn’t too complex)
- Presentation: 8/10 (ultimately, brownies are brownies, no matter how you present them)
- Taste: 10/10 (just the same as Jamie’s lip, I’d like to believe)
The Guardian’s Recipe:
- Difficulty: 5/10 (same as above)
- Presentation: 7/10 (they were slightly more cracked on top than Jamie’s)
- Taste: 8/10 (not enough salted caramel)
The Final Word
I don’t know, Jamie, but I would say yes if you were the pasta.