I tend to bake extensively throughout the Christmas season, sometimes starting in mid-November, so by the time the New Year comes around, I feel pretty much out. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to bake, I just want to do things that are simple and stress free and they will come out perfect every time. With that in mind, I want to offer three easy, controlled recipes that can be prepared quickly and guaranteed to be a hit with friends and family.
Best brownies ever
If you’ve always been looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe that has a nice thin crust on top and lots of almonds and chews underneath, this is it. All you have to do is follow the instructions carefully and use high quality chocolate.
85g unsalted butter (plus more for greasing the pan)
170 gm dark chocolate
25 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder
115 g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Half a teaspoon of coarse salt
220 grams fine sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 176°C. Grease an 8-inch square baking tray, line it with baking paper to allow a 2-inch overhang on both sides, grease the paper and set it aside. Place the butter, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in batches for 30 seconds until the butter and chocolate are melted and all ingredients are well blended. You can also do this in a glass bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water on the stove. Once the ingredients are melted, leave them to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or electric hand mixer, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed for at least 4 minutes (this will help form a nice thin crust over the brownies, so make sure to mix them well). Add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour the brownie mixture into the skillet and bake for 35 minutes. A skewer inserted into the brownies should come out with a little sticky (but not wet) crumb. Remove the brownies from the pan using the paper lid and let them cool completely on a wire rack before cutting them into squares.
Three easy and fun New Year’s crowd recipes that turn out perfect every time
Mixed berry bread pudding
This is a variation on my chocolate chip bread pudding, but it’s also easy to make and delicious without much effort or effort. It’s also a great way to eat lots of healthy berries for breakfast or dessert.
350 g brioche bread (cut into cubes)
240 ml milk
240 ml cream
100gm fine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g frozen mixed berries (or fresh berries)
Preheat oven to 175°C and lightly grease an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish. Put half of the brioche bread in the dish, add half of the berries and repeat with another layer of bread and berries. In a bowl, whisk the milk, cream, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract, and pour in the bread and berries. Press the bread into the milk mixture with a spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread pudding looks puffed. Feet warm or cold.
Banana walnut muffin with streusel layer
If you love banana bread (and who doesn’t), you won’t be able to get enough of these pancakes! Not only can you use all the ripe bananas on your counter, you also need two bowls and a muffin tray to make the entire recipe.
110 g walnuts
230 grams of flour
150 grams of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Half a teaspoon of baking soda
2 pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
113 g butter (melted and cooled)
300 grams banana (mashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
57 grams melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour (may need more)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180°C and place in a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Roast the walnuts in the oven until fragrant, then chop them coarsely. In a large bowl, combine walnuts, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl or jug, combine eggs, melted butter, mashed banana, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon until completely combined. Don’t get overly confused. The mixture should be thick and lumpy. Fill muffin tins almost to the top.
Combine all streusel ingredients together in a small bowl until small pieces form, sprinkle generously over muffins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
The writer is a professional pastry chef with a Diploma in Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, Jan 9, 2022