I’ve started to realise that my blog entries this year have gradually progressed from exercise based subject matter to face stuffing and todays blog is another foody one. Let’s blame the weather as we head into winter, but somebody let me know if May comes around and I’m still yattering on about food.
This is one of those cakey recipes that I keep coming back to, not because it is necessarily my favourite but people seem to demand it (yes – I’m talking about you sugar fiends at work). It’s dead simple and you can’t go too far wrong.
500g White chocolate
175 caster sugar
175g self raising flour
175g chopped hazlenuts
1tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
A few of observations before I go any further. Some recipes say to use unsalted butter when baking sweet things but I have rarely found that it makes much difference. If they are thinking of the health aspects then you probably want to ditch all the above ingredients apart from the flour and vanilla extract, but the results may be less satisfying. You may notice that I’m using cheapy basics white chocolate. It’s fine for this sort of recipe and it isn’t worth paying three times as much for free range organic stuff carried on foot by Umpa Lumpa all the way from the Wonka factory. The biggest improvement you can easily make is to toast off the hazlenuts under a grill to maximise their flavour but I haven’t bothered this time because I cant be arsed and I usually end up burning half of them. Anyway, let’s get on with it shall we…
1) Grease and line a 27 x 19cm baking tin and preheat the fan oven to 180 degrees.
2) Melt the butter and 100g of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. I find this very therapeutic for some reason…
3) While this is going on roughly chop the hazlenuts. These are soft nuts and you don’t want to end up with powder so I lightly crush them with the flat surface of a knife to break them into large peices without creating a pile of sawdust.
4) Also roughly chop the remaining 400g of chocolate. Use the blade of the knife so that you DO get a fine residue of surplus chocolate. It is very important that you DON’T use this is in the recipe. If only there was something I could do with this wasted byproduct of the preparation process…
5) Whisk the eggs & sugar together until smoothish. Then stir in the slightly cooled butter mix and the vanilla extract.
6) Next sift the flour and salt into the bowl.
7) Chuck the chopped hazlenuts and chocolate into the bowl. I always judge there to be a little “too much” chocolate so I couple of bits end up wasted. Again, recycling suggestions welcome.
8 ) Fold the mixture into itself until you have a big sticky gloopy bowl of dietary doom. In truth it isn’t beautiful to look at by this stage. With some recipes at this point you are tempted to lock the doors, take the phone off the hook and sit on the kitchen floor finishing off the mixture while you wonder what to watch on TV tomorrow as you take the day off sick. This is one of those recipes where the palid sweet raw ingredients aren’t as tempting as the finished product.
9) Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and bung it in the oven for approx 35 minutes. You are looking for brown/golden at the edges and risen/just firm at the centre. It’s still going to taste great give or take 5 minutes but overcook it and it doesn’t look so good while undercook it and it will collapse when you try to slice it.
10) Leave to cool. No LEAVE IT! Go and do something else you impatient pig.
11) Slice it and store in an airtight container taking care to store it in a secret location.
It should keep for about 3 hours, unless you really do get sick of it. Alternatively take it to work and leave it in the kitchen where a mysterious bermuda style food triangle almost instantaneously spirits away any goodies that pass through it.