I’m sure many of you have realised by now that we’re back home in Australia. The Gold Coast is still as cold as ever, making its last journey through winter. Soon, it will be spring. Perhaps a new beginning for me. I am a fresh graduate; my certificate’s all ready to be framed and mounted somewhere on my wall. To be honest, I’m not sure where to go from here. I have a few ideas, but they’re all very loose ones. I’m finding it all very hard and overwhelming to pick and choose. It’s a little scary. But I suppose a lot of people come to this stage in life and manage to find their way sooner or later. I hope my turn comes soon.
Something to comfort the soul, in the meantime. Brownies. And not the hard and heavy kind. The soft and chewy, if you will. With plenty of earthy nuts buried in its dark, chocolate depths. This is one of James’ creations. And it’s quite brilliant. Never have I tasted a brownie made with cake flour before (at least I don’t think so), and this recipe calls for it. Obviously, cake flour delivers a more tender, delicate crumb from its lower protein content. The resulting brownies are a little bit airier than ones made with regular all-purpose. Not that you see me complaining. I think it’s genius.
There’s a hint of cinnamon added here. You’d be amazed how much of it you can actually taste. Same goes for the orange. Very familiar flavours. Comforting, I think is the word. These brownies are comforting. They are like a pat on the back or a knowing embrace when you feel a little weighed down about life-changing decisions.
One of the best ways to eat them, we’ve decided, is to place a warm piece in a small bowl and shower it in some cold soy milk. Just enough to soak the surface and gather at the bottom. Then spoon your way to fudgy heaven. I think this is the quickest way to fall in love with these beautiful squares. Of course, you can’t go wrong with some ice cream on the side if that’s what you prefer instead.
Orange & Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
170g unsalted butter, cubed
100g dark chocolate, chopped
70g white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- Line a 7×11″ cake pan with foil and lightly grease the surface. Preheat oven to 160°C.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well, set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler until smooth and glossy. Add the orange zest and mix.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until most of it melts.
- Stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and coffee granules, then gradually add the orange juice, stirring continuously.
- In 3 or 4 increments, add the beaten eggs, mixing well each time.
- Slowly fold in the flour and the walnuts.
- Pour brownie mixture into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.