Batter up with these brownies, blondies and 'gingies'

Fudgy caramel-centred brownies with their tell-tale crisp outer shell.
Fudgy caramel-centred brownies with their tell-tale crisp outer shell. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Whether you like them dense and fudgy or verging on cake, it is undeniable that a humble slab of brownie with a glass of red or a cup of builders' tea is one of the most comforting foods offered to face the modern world.

Here we have played with the method, in some cases beating the butter and sugar into submission with eggs to lighten the brownie to cakier proportions, without ignoring its heritage; while others, with a crust on top, are verging on dense, with gooey sinkhole centres of goodness.

Dark chocolate, peanut butter and dulce de leche brownies.
Dark chocolate, peanut butter and dulce de leche brownies. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Blonde, brunette or redhead – there's a recipe for you.

Dark chocolate, peanut butter and dulce de leche brownie

INGREDIENTS

200g dark chocolate

200g unsalted butter, chopped

250g peanut butter

430g castor sugar

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5 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

230g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

45g cocoa powder

200g store-bought dulce de leche (or make your own)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin and line with baking paper, allowing for overhang to make it easy to remove your brownie.

3. Melt the chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water until combined. Add the sugar, stir to combine and set aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and whisk thoroughly until combined.

4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir the dry ingredients before adding them to the chocolate mixture. Whisk again until combined.

5. Pour half the batter into the prepared tin and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

6. Scoop the dulce de leche into a bowl and microwave for 30 to 40 seconds or until pouring consistency, but ensure it is not boiling hot. Remove the brownie tin from the freezer and pour the caramel over the firm batter. Pour the remaining batter over the top then place in the oven and bake for one hour or until cooked. The brownie should still be soft and slightly wobbly in the centre but crunchy on the exterior. Brownies will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Makes 12-14

White chocolate and roasted macadamia blondies. Brownie recipes for Good Food March 2018. Please credit Katrina Meynink.

Dense or fluffy – you choose. Photo: Katrina Meynink

White chocolate and roasted macadamia blondies

For a denser, less cakey brownie, skip the aeration of the butter, sugar and eggs, and simply mix together with a wooden spoon instead.

INGREDIENTS

250g unsalted butter, softened

500g castor sugar

185g couverture white chocolate, melted

5 eggs

30g dark brown sugar

320g plain flour

1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm baking pan and line with baking paper, allowing for overhang.

3. Cream the butter and castor sugar together until light and pale using electric beaters. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dark brown sugar and melted white chocolate. Sift in the flour, stirring gently to combine.

4. Pour into prepared baking tin, scatter over the macadamia nuts and gently shake the tin so the nuts sink into the batter. Bake for one hour or until just cooked through and brown on top. Allow to cool in tin. Remove and slice into portions. Blondies will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Makes 12-14

Ginger, whisky and maple 'gingies' with chocolate biscuit base. Brownie recipes for Good Food March 2018. Please credit Katrina Meynink.

A slab for the gingers: Ginger, whisky and maple 'gingies'. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Ginger, whisky and maple 'gingies' with chocolate biscuit base

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate base

200g chocolate biscuits (such as Chocolate Ripple)

115g unsalted butter, melted

pinch of salt

Brownie batter

200g unsalted butter

185g white chocolate

¼ cup maple syrup

3 eggs

¼ cup whisky

200g light brown sugar

1½ tbsp freshly grated ginger (using a microplane)

1 tsp vanilla extract

275g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin and line with baking paper, allowing for overhang.

3. Put the chocolate biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture is the consistency of damp sand.

4. Press the mixture into the base of your baking tin in an even layer. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the surface is firm. Remove the tin from the oven and set aside.

5. For the brownie batter, gently melt the butter in a small heavy-based saucepan. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and maple syrup and stir until the chocolate has melted and mixture is well combined.

6. Whisk in the whisky, eggs and brown sugar. Add the ginger and vanilla extract, stir again, then sift over the flour and baking powder. Finally, add the salt and stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

7. Pour the mixture over the chocolate biscuit base, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top. The centre should be slightly puffed and have formed a "shell" on top, but still be slightly gooey.

8. Leave to cool completely in the pan, then cut into slices and serve. Gingies will keep for up to three days in an airtight container.

Makes 12-14

Gluten-free buckwheat, choc chunk and molasses brownies. Brownie recipes for Good Food March 2018. Please credit Katrina Meynink.

Gluten-free buckwheat brownies. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Gluten-free buckwheat, choc chunk and molasses brownies

Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat. A seed rather than a grain, it's safe for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Buckwheat gives these brownies a really dense, chewy texture. If you are not following a strict gluten-free diet, try replacing the molasses with the same amount of malt extract.

INGREDIENTS

200g unsalted butter

200g dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa)

40g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

½ cup molasses syrup

2½ cups castor sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

generous pinch of salt

2 cups buckwheat flour

1 cup milk chocolate chunks (roughly bite-sized but don't get precious – the less uniform the chunks, the better)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin and line with baking paper, allowing for overhang.

3. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, then remove from the heat. Add the cocoa powder, molasses and castor sugar and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition, then add the buckwheat and a pinch of salt. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until just combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for one hour or until just set and browned on top, with that tell-tale crisp brownie shell. Brownies will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Makes 12-14