I was browsing at Borders one day and went past the cookbook sections. I only own one cookbook so far, and that is the Movida book. I've only started to bake and the Internet is good and all for recipes, but sometimes you want a book that you can just keep turning back to for tried recipes. I make a lot of the desserts from Ellie's blog, Kitchen Wench. I remembered that Ellie said her favourite book was Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake, from which she had made a lot of the recipes. So I bought that book.
The first recipe I decided to try was the Macadamia Brownies. In Belinda's version, she also adds choc chip. I made the recipe following her recipe exactly the first time. It was very nice, but was too rich and chocolatey (what am I saying, too much chocolate) for me. I literally got a sugar rush each time and was a little dizzy after I finished a whole slice (a pretty big slice but still one slice nonetheless). So the second time I made it, I did what am self respecting baker would do, I modified it to suit my taste. I dropped the choc chips, reduced the sugar by half a cup and put in some Marsala. The resultant brownie, in my opinion is even better and has now surpassed the Moosewood Fudge Brownies as my favourite brownie. This modified version of Belinda's brownies is still rich, but not too sweet. Also, the Marsala adds this extra dimension to it, where you can just taste a hint of something very fragrant and its at the back of your tongue.
Adapted from Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake
250g unsalted butter
180g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
100g roasted macadamia, cut into large chunks**
3 tablespoon Marsala
1) Heat oven to 180C. Butter square 23cm tin and line with baking paper.
2) Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Set aside for 8 minutes to cool.
3) Add sugar, vanilla extract and Marsala to chocolate mixture and whisk to mix well. Add one egg at a time, beating until each is well mixed in before adding next egg.
5) Sift in flour and stir until it's all combined. Do not overmix as the brownies will toughen. Fold in roasted macadamias.
6) Scrape batter into tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted wooden skewer comes out with moist crumbs.
7) Cool brownies before lifting it out of the tin. Brownies can be stored in the fridge for 1 week or the freezer for 3 weeks.
** To roast the macadamias, I just spread them out onto a tray and put into the oven at about 90C, stirring occasionally. Watch the nuts carefully as they colour up as you don't want them to burn.