Chocolate and Fig Brownies

“Who doesn’t like chocolate brownies?  Well, from the speed these flew off the plate, I’d say no-one!  I’ve made so many different versions of the humble brownie: date, white chocolate, GF with almonds, the list goes on.  This was one of those fortuotous moments when I had a container of diced dried figs sitting on the bench from a previous recipe and only a short amount of time to cook something.  So my brownies got a healthy dose of figs at the last minute.  I love the extra texture and flavour they impart.  I’ve also found that grinding my own almond and hazelnut meal gives me more control over the texture. I like to process the nuts with the skins on and mill to a slightly bigger grain than the store bought versions. Finally, the trick in getting a really good brownie is having the courage to take them out of the oven before they feel totally cooked.  You just have to trust your own judgement and get used to your oven.  But even if they’re slightly underdone they’ll still taste amazing. Enjoy!” 

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 1/4 tsp flaked salt
  • 150g dark sugar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 175g Self raising flour
  • 130g almond or hazelnut meal
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 150g chopped dried figs
Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt the chocolate and butter, stirring regularly.  Once melted stir through the salt.  Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the sugars with the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add the flour, almond/hazelnut meal and cocoa and mix until combined.
  5. Pour in the chocolate mixture and figs and stir to combine.
  6. Spray a 20cm square baking dish with baking spray and line with baking paper.
  7. Transfer the brownie mixture to the pan and bake for 40-50 or until the brownie stops wobbling in the pan and a seeker comes out with a few crumbs on it.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature or eat warm with ice-cream.  Brownies also freeze really well, so make another batch to keep for later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana loaf with dates, figs and chocolate

“I love a recipe that is born from necessity.  In this case it was from trying to make room in my freezer for some kick-ass chilli con carne I’d made.  So it was time to use the numerous over-ripe bananas that I’d frozen so I wouldn’t have to throw them out.  The first loaf I made was delicious but lacked a certain something.  Chocolate of course!  After a few more attempts I settled on this combination.  I can highly recommend taking it straight out of the oven, slathering it in butter and devouring a couple of pieces before anyone else finds out.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 80g dates
  • 50g dried figs

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Mix the flour, bicarb, mixed spice, sugar and cocoa together
  3. Process the bananas with the milk and eggs
  4. Add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Cut up the dates and figs and stir into the mixture along with the chocolate chips.
  6. Grease and line a loaf tin and fill with the mixture
  7. Bake for 50 – 65 minutes until the loaf is cooked in the middle.  (The chocolate makes this cake very moist so when a knife is inserted it will still come out with some moisture on it.  It’s trial and error I’m afraid.)
  8. Eat hot with lashings of butter then go straight to the gym!