A gift of Christmas brownies

Brownies are one of those bakes that give maximum pleasure for a modest amount of effort. My basic recipe has changed very little over the years, but it is infinitely customisable for any occasion.

Brownies make great presents, as they travel well (even by post, which is handy this year) and are still delicious a few days after being made. My Christmas brownies are flavoured with orange and cinnamon. I baked half the batch in a square tin with cranberries on the inside and gold leaf adorning the top. They were destined for my son’s nursery staff, so completely nut-free.

The round brownie was scattered with pink praline just before baking for extra crunch and designed to be served dessert-style in wedges with ice cream.

Chocolate, orange + cinnamon brownies

Makes 1 x 20 cm square and 1 x 20 cm round brownie

  • 225 g salted butter
  • 90 g Green & Blacks cocoa powder
  • 90 g Maya Gold chocolate
  • 1 large orange, zest finely grated
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 450 g Light muscovado sugar
  • 100 g self-raising flour
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 80 g pink praline (optional)
  • 1 sheet gold leaf (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160 fan) | 350°F | gas 4 and line a 20 cm square and a 20 cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper
  2. Melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate together in a small saucepan, then take the pan off the heat and stir in the orange zest and cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the eggs with the sugar for 4 minutes or until it reaches ribbon stage.
  4. Sift over the flour, add the cranberries and pour the chocolate mixture down the side, then fold everything together until streak-free.
  5. Pour into the prepared tins and scatter over the praline (if using).
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 mins or until a crust has formed on top and the edges have set, but there’s still plenty of goo lurking inside.
  7. Leave to cool completely in the tin before unmoulding.
  8. Apply the gold leaf with a dry brush before cutting the square brownie into squares.

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