Tuesday, 17 December 2013

After Eight Brownie - The perfect Christmas treat.

Lets talk dinner parties. I would love nothing more than to host a mad-men-esque evening of elegance, dinner and cocktails for my friends. In my head I swan around in a beautiful dress, mixing martinis, serving food in matching crockery with soft jazz playing in the background.

In reality I don't have a dining room, so my guests have to eat their dinner on their knees, and I tend to panic-cook far too much food, which people feel obliged to eat until they eventually slip into some sort of sugar-coma on my incredibly comfy M&S sofa.

I tend to end up making picky food, which doesn't require a knife and fork to eat. Pizza, flatbreads with various dips, and of course - something sweet to nibble on.

With Christmas getting steadily nearer I like to have a selection of sweet treats to hand for those people who pop in to drop off presents, or for anyone who gives us a gift that we are not expecting.

These Christmas inspired brownies are the perfect quick and easy sweet treat to whip up quickly, yet still impress.

After Eights were always a bit of a Christmas institution in my house growing up. I remember many extremely competitive festive family board games were accompanied by a box of after eight mints and a few too many glasses of wine. In fact, I bet if we pulled out the box of trivial pursuit right now, there would be some After Eight wrappers in there somewhere.

print recipe
After Eight Brownies
  • 400g Dark Chocolate
  • 400g Butter
  • 500g Caster Sugar
  • 6 Eggs (medium)
  • 230g Plain Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Packet of After Eight Mints
Preheat your oven to 180C and line your brownie tin with either tin foil or greaseproof. (I prefer tin foil)Melt the chocolate and butter together, you can do this in a pan or microwave, whichever you prefer. I use a non stick pan. Leave the chocolate mixture to cool slightlyWhisk the sugar and eggs together (if you were adding additional flavours such as coffee or vanilla, you would whisk it in here)In a separate bowl weigh out the flour, baking powder and salt.Pour the chocolate/butter into the eggs/sugar and whisk until combined. It will be lovely a gooey.Sift in the flour and stir in until all the flour has disappeared. Be careful not to overmix at this point, just until you can no longer see any white flour.Pour roughly half the mixture into your prepared brownie tin. I use a 39cm x 27cm x 2.5cm tin, you could use a deeper tin and adjust the cooking time slightly.Place a single layer of after eights over the brownie mix, if I had been using a smaller tin I might have gone for a double layer.Pour the remaining mix over the top and place in a preheated oven for 25-35 minutes. The top should be crisp and cracking slightly and the middle still slightly fudgey.Once cooked, leave to cool completely then cut into lovely big chunky squares. I found a liberal dusting of icing sugar finished them off nicely.

Do you have any family food traditions at Christmas time? I'd love to hear them.

I received product and ingredient vouchers from After Eight for writing this post, all views are my own.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday Summary - 1st December

christmas tree

Well looky here. It's December! It is officially OK to put up your Christmas decorations and drink mulled wine to excess! Hurrah! We always put our decorations up the first weekend of December, which luckily this year means the 1st of the month.

I am a little nervous about putting our tree up this year as Ruby (the cat) has never been with us for Christmas and her playful nature and love of all things shiny might be an issue. Although, I don't want to speak to soon, but so far she seems utterly disinterested.

Update The peace lasted all of about 3 hours, we've had to take off all the decorations within her reach and turn the lights off. Merry bloody Christmas.

Butter Wouldn't Melt

How was your week? Get up to much?

I've been busy at work as per usual. Managed to squeeze in a night of comedy on Wednesday though, it was Red Raw night at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle. It is £2 on the door and you get to see 10 new acts trying out their material. A friend of ours (Julian Lee) was doing a set, so we went along for support. We had an absolute blast, ended up not getting home until 1:30am, which in hindsight might not have been the best idea as we had work the next day. Thursday was awfully long and sleepy.

I've been doing some Christmas shopping this week too, I am pretty organised with presents so far but don't even talk to me about the food! I have no idea. I think we have settled on pork for dinner, but apart from that I haven't thought about anything else. Although, I did manage to order my Christmas meat on twitter this week! Huge thank to Charlotte's Butchery for their advice and cannot wait to pick up my pork shoulder and ham!

I have some old favourites in my recipe arsenal, like these Mulled Wine Frangiane Pies which are a great aternative to boring old mince pies with the added bonus of making your whole house smell amazingly festive. Or there is always good old fashion gingerbread, always a winner

Speaking of Gingerbread, if you are in Newcastle and looking for something to do today, get yourself down to the Hancock Museum from 2pm for the Gingerbread House Challenge! Lots of activities for the kids, and some amazing gingerbread creations to see (and eat!), its all for a great cause; The Sick Children's Trust.

If you have any winning christmas recipes, please do share them in the comments.

Finally, I wanted to end this little rambling post with some of my favourite blogs of the week, I read so many wonderful blogs, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights from the last week;

Overnight Cinnamon Buns from M Bakes.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing from London Bakes.
French Onion Pastry Puffs from Joy the Baker.

I also stumbled across ThatGalJenna through instagram, and although it is not food related, I want to steal this girls entire wardrobe!

Hope you all have a lovely week!

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