I'm writing this from my hotel room in New York City. We're here for a couple of days before we head west to Los Angeles for the next four weeks or so. Neither of us can really remember why we decided to break the journey here but I'm very glad we did. As both of us have been here several times before, there's no pressure to go to the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty; instead we can just wander around the city and pretend for a few short days that we're locals.
Last night I met Lauren and Tara for dinner. Whenever I've been to New York before, I've always been with my family - this is the first time that I feel like I've had the city to myself. I walked from my hotel on 40th Street to the restaurant we were meeting at on 18th Street, skipping in and out of the traffic and tutting at tourists who were walking too slowly. I felt like I was at home.
From the number of recipes on this site, I think it's pretty clear that brownies are the way to my heart.
I went through a phase of making these flourless chocolate and macadamia brownies all the time. I could make a batch in my sleep. They feel less like a brownie and more like a rich chocolate truffle cake (which is no bad thing) and incredibly rich and decadent.
I hadn't made them for a while though and I wondered if it would be possible to use something other than ground macadamia nuts, not least because it killed my blender last time I tried to grind them. Enter desiccated coconut.
I'm very particular about the ways in which I like coconut; I like the flavour but I don't always enjoy the gritty texture that baking it sometimes imparts. Thankfully, that's not a problem with these brownies. The coconut flavour is subtle, a tropical background note to the chocolate, but seems to cut through the richness of the brownies and add a touch of saltiness that makes it very hard to stop eating them. Especially once I'd discovered how good the brownies were straight from the freezer...
Flourless coconut brownies
Adapted from The Telegraph
Yield: 16 brownies
- 300g (12 oz) dark chocolate (85% for choice) chopped roughly
- 200g (1 1/2 sticks + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 200g (1 cup less 1 tablespoon) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
- 30g (just under 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of sea salt
- 50g (1/2 cup) unsweetened desiccated/shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 22cm square tin.
- In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, slowly melt the chocolate and butter. Make sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water. When melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until lightly and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Sift the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the mixture and finally fold in the coconut until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes. The brownies should still be moist but should be set in the middle; if you stick a toothpick in, it won't come out clean but it won't have any raw batter on it.
- Allow the brownie to cool before transferring to a wire rack and cutting into pieces.