My life is generally in flux -- people, interests, jobs, all things come and go in a transient fashion. But two things have remained constant since I was 20 years old -- I love chocolate, and I prefer polyamorous relationships. I shouldn’t think I have to explain the chocolate loving, but the polyamorous thing often requires a Conversation with new people. And you know what makes a Conversation go better? BROWNIES.
I love this recipe because as with a polyamorous relationship, anyone can have some. It’s endlessly adjustable, and while I make the brownies so they’re gluten and dairy-free, they can very easily be tweaked to be vegan as well. You can add different colours of chocolate to get a marbled kind of look, you can add nuts, you can change the type of sugar -- this recipe is ridiculously robust, and will just go with the flow of whatever way you want to make it.
Before we start, I’m also going to go ahead and admit something I’ve been concealing for years -- this is not actually my recipe. I learned it (among other delightful things) from a dear old friend, and I’ve been passing it off as my own ever since. So, sorry, Jen -- here’s the credit you deserved.
To make Poly Brownies you will need:
350g of dark chocolate
(You can use any kind of dairy-free chocolate -- I use dark chocolate because it’s most often dairy-free, but there are heaps of options around these days. Alternatively, if you’re not making them dairy-free you can just put in whatever chocolate you want)
250g of Nuttlex
(You can use any butter substitute or real butter if you don’t care about dairy-free)
1/2 cup of gluten-free flour
(I sometimes use half gluten-free flour, half hazelnut meal, and it’s AMAZING. If you don’t care about gluten-free, regular plain flour is fine)
1 tsp of gluten-free baking powder
(Yes, for serious, baking powder has gluten in it. The gluten-free kind is easy to get though.)
1 heaped cup of brown sugar
(You CAN use normal sugar, but I seriously recommend brown -- the darker the better. It adds a delicious caramel aftertaste that cuts through some of the bitterness of the dark chocolate)
(If you want to make this recipe vegan, just swap out the eggs for the equivalent egg replacement stuff.)
Once you’ve got ALL THE CHOCOLATE and ALL THE BUTTER (and the other things), you’re ready to make Poly Brownies!
Break up your chocolate and put it in a double boiler arrangement on the stove. If you have a baine marie, I don’t really understand why you’re taking cooking tips from me, but you can use that, too.
The chocolate and butter will take a little while to melt down, and can be mostly left unattended so long as you can keep an eye out for water splashing in. DON’T let water into your goo, it’ll ruin the whole thing.
While your chocolate goo is melting, pop your flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. For this recipe you want to have a “dry bowl” for all the dry ingredients, and a “wet bowl” for all the wet stuff, only mixing the two at the very last moment. At this stage, start preheating your oven to 170C, otherwise you’ll forget and go to put the brownie mixture in its final form into a cold oven.
Once your “dry bowl” is set up, pop your eggs and sugar into your “wet bowl” and beat the crap out of them with a fork. If you have electric beaters, use those, but it’s totally possible to get them whipped enough with a fork and some serious shoulder work.
You’ll know the wet part is whipped enough when it starts to leave little ripples when you stir it or dribble it back into the bowl.
If your stove is as useless as mine, you’ll probably still be waiting for the butter and chocolate to melt properly, so here’s a little story about how I got into the whole polyamory thing in the meantime.
When I tell people I’m polyamorous, a LOT of people assume some dude pushed me into it, and I’ve just never managed to assert my inherent desire to be monogamous again. This is quite far from how it actually is. It’s true that “some dude” did suggest we go from being monogamous to seeing other people, but, honestly, I was all for it from day one.
Amusingly, I got a new partner within a week of making the decision to open things up, and the dude who suggested it got exactly nowhere with anyone until we broke up. For the record, we broke up due to his crippling speed addiction, not polyamory -- he wasn’t what you’d call a keeper exactly. I caught up with him years later, and he was astonished when I told him about my boyfriend, and his other girlfriend, and my other boyfriend. Apparently he’d gone right back to being monogamous again after his wildly lopsided experience with polyamory.
ANYWAY, the chocolate should be melted and smooth by now, so give that a stir and let’s get on with the cooking.
Pour the chocolate and butter into your “wet bowl” with the sugar and eggs, and give it all a good whipping with a fork. Again, if you have electric beaters, get them amongst it. Otherwise, just go to town with a fork.
Once you’re satisfied all the wet ingredients have learned their lesson and are playing nicely with each other, gently fold the “dry bowl” ingredients through. It’s important to be gentle and kind after a good whipping, so swap out your fork for a wooden spoon and ever so gently stir the mixture until the flour is evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into a greased brownie pan, and pop it in the oven. Try and ignore the incredible chocolate smell wafting through the house for about 20 minutes.
When you can’t stand it anymore, pull the pan out and gently poke a knife into the middle. If it comes out with crumbs or smears of uncooked batter, pop it back in for another 10 minutes before testing again. If it comes out clean, they’re done!
You can ice them at this stage, if you like, but personally I prefer to nibble all the crispy caramelized edges off while it’s still warm and gooey in the middle -- a perfect treat to share.