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My Big Brownie Experiment

I’ve done it! My brownie shop is open for business. I’ve baked and photographed and wrapped and written, a brilliant challenge. It all began in October last year, it was quite late one night when I was taken by an urge to bake. I always keep a ‘mental’ list in my head of my next bake and that night it was the turn of the chocolate brownie. Strange that I should not have made one before now, I have certainly eaten plenty.

I consulted with Nigel, Nigella and Hugh, a trusted trio and selected a simple brownie recipe from each. I baked some brownies and they were good but there had to be more to it.

I have a science degree and having worked for a luxury chocolate brand for nearly six years in development, process and ingredient sourcing I knew a bit about chocolate and ingredients and understood the process of experimentation.

To test the recipe I started by tweaking a single element each time I baked thereby focusing on each key brownie attribute; chocolatiness, tenderness and sweetness. Each has to be right and there is a balance, reducing sugar too much can affect tenderness and moisture and increasing the cocoa too far can make for a tougher, dry eat so this became the focus of my experimentation, pushing up the cocoa content whilst retaining the tender brownie texture.

During the baking I used different chocolate and I noticed that the brownies tasted different. With that thought still in my head I baked with a single origin chocolate from Madagascar and was amazed by the intensity of flavour and the red berry notes, gentle acidity and the butteriness coming from the Madagascan chocolate. It was at this time that I realised what I wanted to do, bake amazing brownies with single origin chocolate and experiment with flavour.

I am a perfectionist and although I knew I had the beginnings of something the recipe was far from where I wanted it to be so I continued to bake and tweak and until at last I found brownie happiness. Everyone should have the opportunity to ‘eat better brownies’.

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Our Luxury Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe

How We Create Our Indulgent Brownies

The single most important ingredient in our brownies is the chocolate.

Single-origin chocolate is known for its exceptional flavour and character, which is the reason we decided to create delectable brownies using this incredible ingredient. It’s one of the reasons our brownies have such a unique flavour with a velvety texture.

The heat from baking invigorates and amplifies the intricacy and intensity of the single-origin chocolate, pushing the complexity of the flavour and heightening individual character, resulting in a bolder and brighter brownie which is difficult to resist.

The Single-Origin Chocolate

We chose two kinds of single-origin chocolate for our brownies, Madagascan and Colombian, both of which exhibit unique flavour characteristics due to the terrior (natural environment, weather and soil conditions) of the distinct regions within the country in which they are grown. Everyone understands terrior in relation to grapes and wine or coffee beans, well this is the same for cacao too. The terroir will impact the flavour of the cacao at each harvest.

The Madagascan chocolate takes cacao from the Sambirano forests off the northwest coast and exhibits beautiful red fruit notes and a warming acidity resulting in an intense brownie with a buttery finish.

The Colombian chocolate is seriously dark with an extraordinary floral, smoky edge. The cacao is grown and harvested under the canopy of the tropical forests of Tumaco.

Our Ingredients

We strive to select only the finest possible ingredients, and that commitment doesn’t just stop at our finely sourced chocolate

  • Our eggs are always fresh and free range, and each ten-piece slab contains two whole eggs, which creates great texture and richness.
  • The butter we use is always unsalted to allow us to add just the right amount of sea salt pre-bake. This really enhances and heightens the character of the cacao in the finished product.
  • The sea salt itself is Guerande coarse sea salt, harvested by hand from the salt marshes of Southern Brittany. You can taste the salt in little peaks of sea salted savouriness as you eat.
  • Traditional brownie recipes list white sugar; processed to remove molasses, resulting in a bland flavourless sugar. We select an unrefined light soft brown sugar; the brownies are given a delicate caramel note which is gentle enough to ensure that the all-important chocolate remains centre stage.

Naturally Gluten-Free Brownies

The flour is a blend of non-gluten ingredients, containing rice, potato, tapioca, maize, and buckwheat. In the early baking trials, we started out by baking with both gluten and non-gluten flour.

We were so struck by the improved rich, silky texture of the brownies baked with gluten free flour that we decided to bake without gluten, which means that more people can enjoy our brownies!

A Superior Brownie

Our luxury brownie recipe includes a superior level of chocolate, greater than the average brownie. The balance of chocolate and sugar is key, too little chocolate or cacao mass and too much sugar results in an overly sweet brownie with very little cacao and little flavour. Too much chocolate and the brownie can be too dry and firm.

Getting the balance just right means that the brownie is chocolate rich whilst retaining the tenderness contributed by the sugar. The cacao mass content of the chocolate is 70% to 100%, this variation is adjusted in the recipe to suit each bake to ensure consistent results.