Spiced hazelnut-cacao brownie

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 12 - 16 people

There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to brownies - some prefer them cake-like; others (like us) prefer them dense and rich. This version is studded with cacao nibs, hazelnuts and shards of bitter chocolate, with a hint of cinnamon and chilli to warm things up.

  • 250 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (65% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
  • 300 gm light muscovado sugar (see note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 180 gm plain flour
  • 40 gm Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  •  
  • Hazelnut-cacao crunch
  • 50 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 40 gm cacao nibs (see note)
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
01   Preheat oven to 160C. Melt butter and both chocolates in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, add muscovado, then mix in eggs one at a time. Sieve flour, cocoa, cinnamon and baking powder over mixture and stir to combine (but don’t overwork or the brownie will become cake-like).
02   Meanwhile, for hazelnut-cacao crunch, combine ingredients and ½ tsp sea salt flakes in a bowl.
03   Spread half the brownie mixture in a 22cm-square cake tin buttered and lined with baking paper. Scatter half the hazelnut-cacao crunch over, then spread remaining brownie mixture over and smooth top. Scatter with remaining hazelnut-cacao crunch and bake until set around the edges but still a little fudgy in the centre (45-50 minutes; a skewer inserted should withdraw with just a little mixture on it). Set aside to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Note Cacao nibs are available from select health-food shops. Light muscovado sugar has a subtle molasses flavour. If it's unavailable, substitute brown sugar.

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