You can’t beat a good brownie. Fudgy, dense, and packed with chocolate, they are satisfyingly indulgent, and don’t last long once they’re in the tin.
Luckily, brownies are also one of the simplest bakes you can make. This is a bonus if you have a last minute birthday or event to bring food to (or it’s Saturday night and you’re at home with a bottle of wine and He’s Just Not That Into You…). They are super quick and easy to put together, and require minimal ingredients.
This recipe is marginally more time consuming if you choose to make the candied orange slices, but they are decorative more than anything. If you do have the time, they add a sweet, chewy addition to the brownies, and bring out the flavour. While the slices are simmering, the tangy orange scent will drift throughout your house like a natural air freshener, so it’s almost worth it just for that.
However, if you just need a quick chocolate fix (no judgement here), you can whip up the batter in no time. The smell of the citrus zest mixed with silky melted chocolate is almost unbearably tempting, but try not to dive in straight away – the 30 mins or so cooking time is well worth the wait.
It pays to use good quality dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa. The result will be more chocolatey brownies that add a richness to the sweet orange flavour; intense, indulgent, and inexplicably moreish.
Makes 12 – 16 brownies
For the brownies
200g dark chocolate
275g caster sugar
100g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
3 large eggs, beaten
For the candied oranges
200g caster sugar
- Start with the candied orange slices, if making, to allow them time to cool. Thinly slice the two oranges, discarding the ends.
- Add the sugar and water to a large saucepan and stir. Heat on a medium heat until starting to gently bubble, and add the orange slices.
- Leave to simmer for approximately 30 mins, but do not stir the sugar syrup mixture while cooking. Turn off the heat and lift the slices from the pan with a slotted spatula. Leave to dry on baking tins lined with greaseproof paper. Set aside until ready to serve.
- For the brownies, preheat the oven to 180C / 160 fan. Grease and line a 33 x 23 x 5-cm baking tray.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts, checking regularly to stir. Keep heating and stirring until there are no chocolate lumps left.
- Add the butter and stir until fully melted in the chocolate.
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh out the sugar and stir in the melted chocolate mix, beating together until fully combined. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
- Grate the zest of one orange into the mix. Juice the same orange and add into the mixture, stirring until combined.
- Add the beaten eggs and give the mixture one final thorough stir until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking tray and smooth towards the edges. Grate the zest of the second orange over the tray, ensuring there is an even amount of zest in all corners.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 – 35 mins, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tray for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack.
- Slice and serve with the candied orange slices.