Chocolate and Date Brownies

Chocolate and Date Brownies (1)I’m looking out of my lounge window now and can see nasty, icy rain falling down from an iron grey sky. It’s not the sort of day to be leaving the house. When the weather is like this, I love to bake, and as I hadn’t made brownies for a long time I decided to give them a go with what I found in my cupboards (I already knew I had a bar of cooking chocolate in, which is what gave me the idea, to be honest).

I found a bag of dried dates, and thought these would work wonderfully in a chocolate brownie because of their lovely, fudgy flavour. And they did! The dates also meant I could use less sugar to sweeten the brownies, which is of course a bonus.

I don’t often share sweet recipes so I hope you will enjoy this one! It’s perfect with a cup of ginger tea on the side.

I made mine in muffin cases because I realised half way through making them that I didn’t have any greaseproof paper – you could of course make them the traditional way in a large tin, slicing them after they are cooked.

These will take you 30 minutes and will make 12 large brownies.

Chocolate and Date Brownies (2)

Chocolate and Date Brownies

140g unsalted butter

160g cooking chocolate

140g dried, pitted dates, chopped

90g brown sugar

2 tsps baking powder

160g plain flour

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla exract

Smashed honeycomb, to sprinkle on top (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Bring a pan of water to a simmer and place a mixing bowl on top. Gently melt the butter and chocolate in the bowl.

3. Weigh out the sugar, flour and baking powder and place in a large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat together.

4. Mix the chopped dates into the chocolate and butter mix, then add it to the flour mix. Stir well to combine, then spit evenly between your muffin cases.

5. Sprinkle each brownie with a little smashed honeycomb, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before tucking in.

Ginger Mince Pies

This is my first sweet recipe on this blog, but seeing as it’s Christmas I wanted to share this lovely little mince pie recipe.

I got the marzipan topping idea from a Mary Berry Christmas programme – I tried it out for the first time today and it’s brilliant; the marzipan goes wonderfully crunchy when it’s baked in the oven.

I love ginger too, it’s one of my favourite spices and candied stem ginger is just the best thing to snack on. I had the idea to use ginger conserve as well as mincemeat in the mince pies and it worked really well. Try it out – these are delicious, rustic and gooey.

This makes around 12 mince pies and will take about 40 minutes.

Ginger Mince Pies

500g shortcrust pastry (it’s better if you make your own, but shop bought will work well too)

400g mincemeat

150g ginger conserve

100g white marzipan (approx)

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Roll out your pastry to approx 5mm thick. Depending on the size of your bun tray, pick a round pastry cutter (you will want to ensure that the pastry completely fills each individual section).

3. Cut out your rounds of pastry and fill the bun tray. Press the pastry down to make sure there are no gaps underneath.

4. Fill each pastry case with 1-2 tsps mincemeat. Top with 1/2 tsp ginger conserve and a pinch of grated marzipan.

5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is cooked through. Merry Christmas!