Today was a big day - my dad reached a very special age. I had booked a local Italian restaurant months ago - Da Gennaro in Guildford. This is a family run restaurant and they couldn't have been more helpful. They allowed us to decorate the table before everyone arrived. I decided to make chocolate brownies for everyone as a going home present and we sprinkled the table with stars and laid out straws, cocktail stirrers and umbrellas for everyone. These were particularly enjoyed by my nieces and nephews. My nieces decided to collect up all the cocktail umbrellas and take them home with them, along with the doilies from the desserts which they then got all crafty with.
So, back to this morning. As it was a Saturday and I therefore had time for a lie in, my body decided to wake up just before 6am! As I was awake anyway, I got up to bake the brownies. I used my favourite recipe from The Little Red Barn Baking Book. I don't think you can buy this new anymore but there seem to be a number of pre loved copies available on Amazon. Here is the recipe:
110g plain chocolate (high cocoa content)
90g plain chocolate (chopped)
110g butter or margerine
155g plain flour
150g dark brown sugar
150g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
Put the 110g chocolate and the butter in a bowl suitable for the microwave. Place in the microwave on defrost for 5 minutes. Stir and then microwave on defrost for another minute. Add both sugars and stir in well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until glossy (at this point my DS took over the beating to make sure the mixture was smooth). Add the vanilla extract and stir in. Add the plain flour and salt and stir in carefully trying not to add too many air bubbles. This is what it looked like..
I doubled the mixture to make sure I had enough brownies. This amount makes 50 small brownies.
Spoon into a square baking tin, level the surface then bake at 170 degrees centigrade for 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. I cut them into squares when they had cooled slightly and then packaged them up - 4 brownies per person.
I added a label to each and some shiny wrapping ribbon and here is the end result.
We had a really lovely birthday lunch and everyone had a present to take home afterwards. So Happy Birthday to a wonderful, amazing dad.