The best part about coming home is preparing my own food again! So excited for exams to be over so I can start cooking and baking again. For now, breakfast prep will have to suffice.
RECIPE: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies
Hello! Dropping in with a super quick recipe post cause Monday is over 😀 Lessons are over at least.
I made these brownies yesterday, because I haven’t baked in ages, and one of my goals after attending the Hygge the previous Sunday was to make more food from scratch. So what better way than to start with dessert?
These brownies were made using both chocolate chips and peanut butter chips (best invention ever). So no cocoa powder was needed!
And to make them slightly healthier, I used olive oil instead of butter. It’s really killing two birds with one stone cause it’s healthier, and the oil results in a moister brownie. Yummers.
These brownies were the moistest brownies I’ve made so far. Tastewise they were definitely good, but I think using dark chocolate chips would have been ever better to add a bittersweet dimension to them. I was really happy with the crackly top though!
I wanted to do one of those cool stacked brownie shots, but they were so moist that they refused to balance nicely. I managed to snap this in the few seconds they stayed together.
And then I gave up and just lay them down. Haha, I edited the photo below to make it look like one of those retro photos… You know to bring back memories of the brownies your grandma/momma used to make when you were young.
Okay, enough talking, here’s the recipe!
Adapted from here
- ¾ cup self raising flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup (olive) oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (About 162 degrees celsius)
- Melt chocolate chips in a water bath. (Put the chocolate chips in a metal bowl and set it in a larger bowl filled with boiling water. Stir until smooth. If the chocolate seizes after coming into contact with some water, add more hot water and keep stirring over the heat until it is smooth again.)
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add the eggs, sugar and oil and mix until combined for about 2 minutes. Add the water and the vanilla extract. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and melted chocolate chips and stir for about 3 minutes until combined.
- Stir in 1 cup peanut butter chips.
- Pour into a greased, parchment lined, or a greased foil-lined 8×8 square pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
- When finished, remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Switch things up!
-Use chocolate chips instead of peanut butter chips
-Add some mini marshmallows and maybe chopped walnuts and you’ve got some Rocky Road Brownies
-Melt the peanut butter chips as well and swirl them in for a marbled effect
HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Tuna Sandwich
As the editor for Project Made Real, it’s my ‘job’ to come up with healthy recipes that can help you guys in your quest for a healthier lifestyle by eating well and nourishing your bodies. I’ve been trying to share more healthy recipes, but I haven’t had much time to experiment with proper recipes (those that actually involve heat, you know, the oven/stovetop). Nonetheless, I still found some time to create a healthy meal for myself, so I thought I would give you all some ideas for those days when the thought of turning on the stove is far from appealing.
(As seen on Project Made Real’s website)
Eating healthily doesn’t always have to be expensive, you know. This simple, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe uses ingredients that you will probably already have on hand!
Sometimes, all you want is an easy meal that can be thrown together without having to fuss around with pots and pans. Well, for me at least, speed is a very big thing, cause I’ve been really busy living on campus and have barely had time to try out new recipes 😦 In fact, cooking has been out of the question, especially since I have a catered meal plan. Can’t wait to play around in the college’s pantry once things have settled down.
Well, to sound more atas, I would call this a deconstructed tuna sandwich. But actually, it’s only deconstructed since there was so much tuna I couldn’t possibly fit it nicely into a sandwich. So an open-faced sandwich it was!
Here’s what you need: (Serves one)
1 125gram can of tuna chunks in water
1 diced tomato
Some diced onions
Dash of Tabasco
Ketchup (to your liking)
Mustard (to your liking)
Pepper to season
All you have to do is mix everything together in a bowl, and serve it alongside with two slices of bread.
I just added whatever ingredients I had on hand, but you could always switch things up by…
-Swapping the ketchup and mustard out for any condiment of your liking (mayonnaise works too if you’re a tuna mayo kind of person)
-Adding Greek yogurt and sliced grapes add an interesting twist to this otherwise savoury dish
-Replacing the tomato with diced bell peppers for more crunch
-Making two open faced sandwiches, and topping each with a slice of cheese before toasting it in the oven. Tuna melts anybody?
-If you’re going for mayo, trying adding in a hard-boiled egg, and a dash of white vinegar and you get the best of both worlds. (Egg mayo and tuna mayo)
This recipe, like all my recipes, are super easy to make, and healthy too! Healthy eating on a budget is possible 🙂 I don’t give the exact measurements for the condiments/seasonings cause the fun lies in adding whatever amount you like to suit your tastebuds. The ingredients are just there as your base, you get to enjoy the process of designing your own masterpiece.
Tuna is loaded with protein and healthy fats, and will keep you full for a longer time. Also, by adding in diced vegetables, you get a nice change in texture and all the benefits of the nutrition and fiber. Tasty and quick, you can’t ask for more ;P
No-Bake Dark Chocolate Biscoff Tart
I am loving my Panasonic Bread Maker (SD-PD104) which is on loan to me for the month of July, from Panasonic SG as part of the Singapore Blog Awards Advertiser’s Choice competition. Voting ends on 31 July so please vote for me to show your support 🙂
So far, I’ve made a Pandan Milk Loaf paired with good ol’ block ice cream, and a Challah Bread with a hidden surprise! This time round, I wanted to show you guys yet another fun aspect of this Panasonic Bread Maker. It can make…*drumroll please* CHOCOLATE!
But I decided to go a step beyond chocolate, and make a No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Tart with a Lotus Cookie Base.
This is crazy huh? Who would have thought that you could make a Chocolate Tart using a Bread Maker?
Let me get you a little bit more excited first…
Lotus cookies, otherwise known as Biscoff Cookies, are these sweet little cookies which smell cinnamony and taste like caramel. Let me show you a picture, in case you can’t picture these delicious cookies.
In fact, they have even gone a step further to make it into a spread (which tastes exactly like the cookie).
Since these cookies have brought me so much happiness, I decided to make them into a cookie crust rather than using plain old digestive biscuits.
As with my other recipes, I have a story to tell. So… gather round, children, it’s story time 😀
This recipe, the first recipe that I have ever created from scratch, was inspired mainly by my sweet mother.
She’s the one who taught me the importance of taking a break during the day, always taking the time for tea break, no matter how busy she was. My mother’s favorite tea break would be sitting down with a hot cup of Milo or Hot Chocolate, with a couple of biscuits for dipping.
My siblings, on the other hand, have more expensive tastes, and would prefer a slice of cake or a freshly made tart from one of the new avant-garde bakeries, rather than just biscuits and a hot drink.
In a bid to combine both old and new tastes, so that everyone can enjoy a communal dining experience, I decide to make a Dark Chocolate Mousse Tart, which incorporates my mother’s favorite items (chocolate and biscuits) with a presentation that would live up to my sibling’s expectations.
So, this No-Bake Dark Chocolate Mousse Tart with a Lotus/Biscoff Cookie Crust was born! That’s quite a mouthful, quite a tasty mouthful I must add 😛
150g Dark Chocolate
80ml Whipping Cream + 220ml Whipping Cream
1 tbsp Honey
250g Lotus Cookies
1) To form the base, crush the Lotus Cookies into fine crumbs or process them in a food processor.
2) Stir melted butter into the crushed cookies and flatten into the base of round cake tin. I used a 9 inch tin, with removable sides.
3) Leave in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.
4) Add the ingredients for the filling, only add 80ml of the whipping cream, into the bread machine.
5) Select Menu 13. (It will take 17 minutes to make the chocolate mixture)
6) Meanwhile, whip the remaining 220ml of whipping cream.
7) When the machine beeps, press STOP.
You should get a smooth chocolate mixture like this!8) Add the hot chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Leave to cool for a bit before pouring over the cookie crust. Leave the tart in the freezer for 20 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to set overnight.
9) When the tart is set, slice up some of your favorite fruits for decorating the tart. Serve chilled!
I even sprinkled some icing sugar on top before serving for a sweet snowy effect.
I chose to use Dark Chocolate so that the bitterness of the dark chocolate would offset the sweetness from the caramel Lotus cookies. The smoothness of the chocolate mousse also contrasts nicely with the delicate crunch of the cookie base.
Ahh, everything melded perfectly together. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of my little experiment! I have more confidence in creating my own recipes now. But most importantly, when I saw how happy my whole family was, eating the tart together to afternoon tea, I felt so satisfied and pleased. Just seeing them enjoying my little creation was a gift in itself.
When I was first told that I had to make 3 recipes using the Panasonic Bread Machine, I was rather nervous as I have never baked bread before, or ever used a bread machine before. But now, at the end of this challenge, I’m glad to say that I have no regrets, and I am proud of how far I’ve come. I’ve made things I never thought I would be able to, and unleashed my creativity in incorporating a personal touch in my recipes.
I’m so thankful to Panasonic and SPH for the opportunity to use this breadmaker and blog about my cooking experiences.
Even though this was a tiring experience, especially since I had to rush out 3 recipes in a week before heading off for my back-to-back camps, I’ve learnt a lot, and I’m looking forward to making more recipes in the years to come.
It’s my first time using any special kitchen equipment for that matter, and I would say that Panasonic has given me a good experience with the user-friendliness and neatness of their breadmaker. What I love most is the versatility of their bread maker… How often are you able to find a breadmaker that can churn out bread, cakes and even dumplings?
I mean, really, a chocolate tart using a bread maker… that’s really out of this world, if i may say so myself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts, and do seize this last chance to show your love by voting for me here! Voting ends on 31 July, so every vote really counts.
Thank you all so much and I hope you enjoy this recipe!
HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Peanut Butter Banana Bites
Head on over to Project Made Real for the full post featuring my favorite couple: Peanut Butter and Bananas.
PB Banana Bites:
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1. Slice up the banana into thin rounds.
2. Sandwich globs of peanut butter in between to make mini peanut butter banana bites.
3. Freeze and enjoy as a delicious dessert!
Want to get crazy? Try dipping the PB Banana Bites in melted chocolate before freezing them. You’ll get a healthy dessert in no time!
Well there you have it. A super simple, super quick recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth! Now your bananas will never go to waste since you can easily chop them up and make this grab-and-go snack ahead of time.
Wacky idea? Throw them into the blender with a cup of milk and another tbsp of peanut butter if you like and you have a deliciously rich and creamy PB banana milkshake. Delish!
Challah Bread with a Milo Surprise
Challah Bread… What on earth is that?
Not many people (in Singapore at least) would have heard of Challah Bread. Sure, we’re pretty up-to-date, we know about Foccacias, Baguettes and even their sweeter counterparts like Brioche. But their humble cousin, Challah Bread is rarely given any time in the limelight.
For those of you who don’t know, Challah Bread is a traditional egg bread made for the Jewish Sabbath, and it is braided before it is baked, so that you get a pretty braided loaf to tuck into!
I added a little surprise to mine… a packet of Milo Nuggets!
Reason being, my father has this weird childhood habit of cracking an egg into a hot cup of milo. After which he gives it a good stir, to ensure the egg is cooked through, before he proceeds to slurp it up. ‘Full of nutrition!’ he proudly proclaims, as he offers me a sip of his wacky concoction. Apparently many people used to have this for breakfast in the 1960s.
While I may never taste the goodness of a raw egg stirred into a cuppa milo, I’m more than willing to combine the two unlikely ingredients in another form.
*Cue Challah Bread with Milo Nuggets*
Since this bread is an egg bread, when paired with Milo nuggets, you’ve got the same idea, just in a more appetizing form! So dear daddy, this one is for you.
1 egg + 1/2 a beaten egg
1.5 Tbsp butter, diced
1/2 tsp salt (My apologies for the error in the picture!)
1.5 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Bread Machine Yeast
1 packet Milo Nuggets
1) Add all the ingredients (just ONE egg) into the bread machine as shown.
Remember the yeast goes in on top!
2) Set the menu accordingly:
Menu No. 9 (To make bread dough only)
Time (it will automatically be set to 1 hour)
3) When the bread machine beeps, press stop.
4) Take out the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. If your dough is too runny, mix in a little more flour until it is easy to handle.
5) Form 3 rolls of the same length as shown. Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
6) Meanwhile, open up the Milo Nuggets and pour them out so they are easy to reach.
7) Braid the 3 rolls as shown, inserting milo nuggets as you go along. Leave to rest for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
8) Brush the top of the braid with 1/2 a beaten egg. Alternatively you could just use one egg yolk.
9) Place it to bake in the oven at 190 degrees celsius/350 F for 28-30 minutes until the top is nice and brown.
WELL THERE YOU HAVE IT! Your beautiful Challah bread stuffed with Milo Nuggets is ready.
As tempting as it is to tear of a glorious chunk of Challah to stuff into your mouth, hold off for just a bit, and let it cool on a wire rack. You don’t want soggy bottoms do you?
I confess, this does taste heavenly fresh out of the oven, but I did suffer for my impatience (Hello burnt fingers)
Don’t worry too much about the milo nuggets peeking out on the top, they add some colour (and a lot of chocolatey flavour) to the Challah Bread.
As you can see, even though the ‘before’ picture didn’t look very appetizing, after baking for 30 minutes, you get this bronzed beauty, so no worries!
As for the milo nuggets that managed to stay hidden, it’s time for them to say hello!
Not only do these chocolatey nuggets make this kid-friendly, they make a delicious pair with the eggy taste in the Challah. See, dad, now this is how you share a piece of tradition with your kids.
“Hang on a second! I can’t possibly make this, I’m only an amateur baker. “
I hear you, my friends. But really, a bread machine saves you all the trouble and mess from kneading, you get to skip to the fun of shaping the bread!
I’m sure many of you are pretty happy to hear that the Panasonic Bread Maker is able to make bread dough huh? It allows for so much versatility and creativity since you’re not restricted to a mere loaf of bread. I know I was 🙂
Ah yes, on a final note, if you need some ideas, this Challah Bread would be delicious for breakfast slathered with some Nutella (for the kids) or even dipped in milo like in the old days (for the adults).
A simple but delicious edible canvas for the whole family. Who would’ve thought that there was a funny story behind this?
Thanks dad, you’re my inspiration. (Well you were, for this recipe at least haha) Love you.
Homemade Ice-Cream Sandwich Bread
Everytime I eat the one-dollar ice cream sandwiches from the street side vendors along Orchard Road, I feel a tinge of nostalgia. These ice cream sandwiches were a major part of my childhood. As cheesy as it may sound, no artisan ice cream or gelato can bring me the same kind of childlike happiness.
If you’ve been living in Singapore all this while, you would be no stranger to these lovely ice cream sandwiches. Some people like theirs served with the crispy wafer biscuits, while others prefer the fluffy rainbow bread. Either way, the experience is filled with fun… after all, where else can you eat ice cream by the block?
I’m lucky to have an adorable ice-cream uncle who makes rounds around my neighbourhood fortnightly. Every time I hear the familiar ring of the bell, I literally drop whatever I’m doing and run about the house squealing the great news “Ice cream uncle! Ice cream uncle!” You may think I’m weird, but hang on… my equally excited younger sister contributes with similar squeals of excitement, and soon the whole house is filled with a buzz of activity. Our parents can hardly hide their excitement too, as they fumble about for loose change so that we can run out to buy ice cream for everyone. My parents have been enjoying this icy cold treat since they were kids, and now that they have kids, I’m pleased to say that nothing has changed. Yes, this scene repeats itself every time the ice cream uncle turns up.
Well now that I have a loan set of the Panasonic SD-P104 Breadmaker…
Well, what better way than to recreate my family’s happiness than with Homemade Ice-Cream Sandwich Bread? Some people call it Rainbow Bread but its not really rainbow, if you want to be technical, since the bread is only made up of uneven hues of pink and green. I omitted the pink hues in this case, since I wanted to make a Pandan flavored Milk Loaf to pair with the ice-cream.
I honestly can’t wait to use the machine to try out more treats, especially since the breadmaker has 13 different menus available. From french bread, to bread dough and even chocolate! The possibilities are endless.
For me, and I’m sure any homebakers out there, user-friendliness is key. Well, if someone like me (I’m not exactly a tech geek) can operate this breadmachine, you easily can. Now, I don’t want this to sound like an impersonal marketing ad, so I’m going to go on to show you how the machine works and what kind of results it produces. (Of course, everyone is only interested in how easy a product is to use, and how awesome the results are… I’m a consumer too, I know what you are thinking! 😉 )
For my first recipe, I’m starting out with something simpler… A fluffy loaf of Pandan Milk Bread to make the ice-cream sandwich with.
RECIPE: (Made using Panasonic SD-P104 Breadmaker)
250g Bread Flour
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
70ml Cold Milk (or 1 tbsp milk powder)
1 tsp Instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp Pandan Extract
Few drops of green food colouring (Optional)
1) Install the blade into the bread pan
2) Add in all the ingredients, except for the instant dry yeast
3) Add Instant Dry Yeast into the yeast dispenser
4) Adjust the settings
-Menu: 3 (This is for soft bread)
-Crust: Soft (You could choose medium if you prefer)
-Timer: 4h 20 min from when you started (the time was already set)
(Sigh…Isn’t it wonderful how you can walk off and do all your errands and return a few hours later to a fluffy freshly baked loaf of bread?)
5) Press stop when you hear the BEEP.
6) Let the loaf cool before you remove it from the pan.
WAIT… what?? That’s all?!
Yes, that is all. I was shocked too, since I tried making bread without a bread machine previously, and it took a lot more effort. All the more reason to love Panasonic. Even a tech-noob like me could figure out how to operate it!
Note: Do set the correct time on the bread maker before you start, and also remember to wash the loaf pan!
PRESENTING… THE FINAL PRODUCT!
I chose a light crust, so the loaf isn’t too browned around the sides, just how my family likes it.
After slicing it, I was ecstatic to find a super soft and bouncy interior. It was so fluffy! Not to mention, the smell of freshly baked bread escaping with every slice I cut. Ahh… heaven.
I may not be very good at slicing bread, but I assure you, looks don’t matter in this case. The texture of the bread makes up for everything!
I wish I could invite you all into my house to taste some of the bread, or at the very least get to feel the bread. It is completely different from those store-bought loaves which are loaded with preservatives.
OH hang on, I have one more thing to tell you.
To make things even more interesting, I managed to get my hands on a block of Raspberry Ripple from the cheery old ice cream uncle. $7 for a whole block sure beats an overpriced pint of branded ice cream any day.
Those colours. The pink stands out so brilliantly against the light green pandan bread. Words fail me… it’s so awesome how one can find beauty in such simplicity.
HAPPINESS CAN COME CHEAP You should have seen my family’s faces.
So, what do you say? Why don’t you join me in recreating such simple joys from your childhood for your family today? With a small investment in a bread machine like Panasonic’s, you can get the results with minimal effort. You don’t have to break out into a sweat kneading the dough, just sit back, relax and let the magic unfold. (Gosh, the ice cream sandwiches must be getting to me, I feel so poetic today)
You don’t have to let go of the nostalgic memories from the past, all you have to do is recreate them, and share the experiences with the generations to come!
Healthy in a Hurry: Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars
How many of you can’t be bothered to wake up a little earlier to have breakfast? How many of you shun the idea of food in the morning?
I’ve heard way too many times of friends and family who skip breakfast simply because they find it too tedious to prepare something to eat, or have no food readily on hand.
I cannot emphasize the importance of eating breakfast. It helps to kickstart your metabolism, and also helps you to focus better throughout the day. Don’t think of it as extra or unnecessary calories, some studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are actually slimmer than those who skip breakfast!
For all you breakfast-skippers and sleepyheads, this recipe is dedicated to you guys. All you have to do is grab it and eat it, since the recipe can make several portions at once!
Here’s a recipe for deliciously healthy oatmeal bars which can be made in advanced and frozen for up to 4 months. These oatmeal bars can be tweaked to your flavour preferences, and are perfect for a grab-n-go breakfast if you pack them into little ziploc bags. These bars are so simple to make, and you can literally add in anything that you have on hand, even chocolate chips if you need some to get you going in the morning!
Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars (inspired by Weelicious)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups milk (any kind of milk, not flavoured milk though)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup raisins + dried cranberries (any dried fruit you like)
- 1/2 cup almonds (any nuts of your choice)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp honey or agave (sweetener of choice)
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius/375 F
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring the dried fruits and nuts in at the end
- Pour the oatmeal mixture into a 7×11 baking dish lined with baking paper (no mess!)
- Bake for 30 minutes or until thickened and golden.
- Cool, cut into squares and serve or store in ziploc bags.
- After the bars have been fully cooled, you can pack them into individual servings in small ziploc bags to pack in the freezer. About 3-4 bars in each individual bag. These will keep for up to 4 months!
Before consuming them, allow to defrost in fridge for 24 hours.
- Refrigerating the bars will make them last up to 5 days.
I even did a Tropical version of these bars previously, if you are interested in that sort of stuff. (Cue mangoes and goji berries – little bursts of sunshine and happiness). What’s more, all the ingredients are easily available, something I took into consideration when I was experimenting with this recipe. So really, you have no excuses. 😛
These bars are also great as a portable snack and I personally enjoy them served with some yogurt as well (You should try this if you have more time for a sit-down breakfast)
RECIPE: Two-Bite Brownies
I can just see your eyes all lit up at the words ‘Two-Bite Brownies”. Well, yes, hold on to your seats as you’re in for a treat! These decadent bitesized babies are a cinch to make, and you’ll definitely have all the ingredient at home.
I made them bite-sized, rather than in a large pan as called for in the recipe. I mean, mini versions of food is always more fun to eat, no?
Another great thing about making two-bite brownies is that they are portable, and perfect for little kids.
These brownies are made without any chocolate at all! These are cocoa brownies. That means only cocoa powder, and a little flour goes into them, which creates an end product that is incredibly rich and sore-throat inducing. Let’s just focus on the fact that they are incredibly rich and bittersweet 😛
I think they come close to tasting like chocolate fudge, because of the richness and more-ish-ness of the mini brownie bites. I recommend chilling them, and enjoying them straight out of the fridge! These would be great alongside a glass of icy cold milk.
If you’re someone who likes sweet brownies, I suggest adding more sugar, or perhaps using a sweetened cocoa powder instead. These brownies are bittersweet, unlike those super sweet commercial brownies. But since these are cocoa powder brownies, the quality of your cocoa powder is essential to a good brownie.
This recipe while good, was not great. It was a tad dry in my opinion, but chilling it in the fridge did help. So give it a try, and let me know how it works out for you! I still chose to share the recipe with you all since the recipe received a ton of rave reviews, so maybe I’m just more inclined toward chewy brownies rather than fudgey brownies.
Oh yes, look at that, it really does resemble fudge, no? Just a single two-bite brownie will satisfy all your chocolate cravings. For that day at least.
I can’t help but associate these cute little brownies to sunflowers! It must be those adorable yellow mini muffin cups that I used.
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
Makes 18 mini brownies.
What you’ll need:
10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams, though some brands may weigh more) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process) –I used Hershey’s unsweetened.
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/165 Celsius. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. OR Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin cups.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water!
3. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.
4. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan/fill the mini muffin tins.
5. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Let cool completely on a rack. (But if you’re making them in mini muffin form, and you don’t have to worry about cutting clean lines, then please do what I did, and enjoy one fresh out of the oven! Hehe)
Switch things up!
1) Add a Hershey’s Kiss on top, just for aesthetic purposes of course. There’s just the added benefit of extra chocolate!
2) Stir in some mini chocolate chips for some moisture
3) Use any kind of nuts (You aren’t limited to walnuts/pecans) for texture
4) Use a mix of brown sugar and white sugar for a richer flavour
5) Add a teaspoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tsp hot water to bring out the chocolate flavour even more.