Chocolate and Rhubarb Brownie

How exciting, the first official post! If there’s one thing you should know about me and the way I bake is that I rarely keep much for myself. More often than not I will give away almost all of my baking, saving a few slices for myself – the ugly ones go to my family. Of course they are delighted to receive them but I have had a couple of complaints that they should be allowed more than just the crusty end cuts. After all I do make a mess of the kitchen and use a tonne of ingredients at the same time. Oh well, maybe next week.

In my degree we have this wonderful thing where we don’t have end of year exams, instead we have incredibly stressful 6 week half semesters with papers that are worth 50%. Fun times everywhere. The up side to this of course is that I finish ridiculously earlier than everyone else and have time to indulge in baking, reading and playing computer games – yes I game. As I mentioned earlier I tend not to keep much of what I create so a few of my friends become privy to parcels in the mail full of ‘brain food’. This week I have chosen my wonderful friend, Carolyn to base the creation around. As luck would have it she is incredibly allergic to nuts (I have inadvertently tried to kill her on more than one occasion) and lactose intolerant. For some reason I have incredible difficulty selecting recipes that do not include those two things, HOWEVER, she loves chocolate and she LOVES rhubarb – or so I hear.

Two flavours. Two different recipes. I had to cross my fingers and hope that it would work out because I refuse to budge on my brownie recipe. It is simply too divine. So as per usual I am half winging it and hoping that it doesn’t turn out miserably, trust me, some of my ‘experiments’ have.

*Please note the baking paper is a must. I made these earlier in the week and for the first time ever they stuck. It was a DISASTER, although a rather tasty disaster. Moral of the story; baking paper is your best friend and makes life a whole less stressful.

Chocolate and Rhubarb Brownie

For the compote:

  • 500 grams rhubarb stalks
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the brownie:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder
  • 330 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 220 grams unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 180˚C. Chop rhubarb into 2cm lengths. Spread evenly in a roasting dish and lightly sprinkle sugar on top (This can be increased or decreased to your desired taste – just remember the brownie has a lot of sugar in it already). Cover with aluminium foil and roast until soft, about 15 minutes. If there is too much liquid take off the cover and leave it inside the oven for another 5 minutes. You do not want excess liquid. Put aside and allow to cool while you prepare the brownie.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom with baking paper*.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together, set aside. Put the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until completely melted and smooth, alternatively you can do this in the microwave in short bursts of heat. Turn off the heat but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Beat vigorously until well combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl, pour half into the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and repeat, you do not want to over mix at this point or you risk a more cake-textured brownie. Add the vanilla and stir until just combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over the chocolate mixture. Using a large metal spoon gently fold in the flour until almost completely combined. Add the rhubarb compote and fold evenly through, this should only take 4 or 5 mixes with the spoon.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top. I like to give it a couple of good ‘bangs’ on the bench to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped inside. To do so just hold either side of the pan and firmly tap the bench. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When it is ready test to confirm by inserting a knife or toothpick in the centre. If it is ready a few moist crumbs will stick to the sides.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before turning them out onto a cooling rack, transfer to a chopping board (so it is the right way up) and cut into squares, or if you’re feeling fancy triangles – everything looks more fancy in triangle shapes.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days… If they last that long.