Last may, on a walk by the cliffs with some friends, I sampled the best chocolate brownies ever at the charming Salmarsh café in Seven sisters country park, Sussex. This recipe, inspired by Nigella Lawson, is the closest I can get to the Saltmarsh brownies – that is until I go back to enjoy them!
This month, I have travelled to a land of cacao and volcanoes, of high rain forest and dry Pàramo heath, of hot springs and salty ocean waves, and I wanted to celebrate the beautiful, godly taste of chocolate with this very delicious recipe which unites the best cacao from South America with the best olive oil and almond from Europe. A nice one to take on holiday wherever you are heading!
- Virgin olive oil, 100 ml (plus more for greasing)
- Cocoa powder, 50 grams good-quality (sifted)
- Boiling water,125 ml
- 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
- Ground almonds, 200 grams
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- Caster sugar, 150 grams
- 3 large eggs
Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 or 23 cm/ 9inch tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, dark, fragrant paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-yellow, aerated and thickened cream, a lot like a mayo.
Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and add the ground almond (or flour) mixture.
When it is all well mixed in, pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Eat with ice cream.
PS: Have tweaked the original to include less sugar and oil and more almond but see what you like!