Sunday 20 November 2011

Delicious expectations: mocha brownies

Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations. ~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

I love baking but I'm actually not that good a baker.
Dude, I've mistaken salt for sugar and made a very salty chocolate log and almost burnt our house down by using a plastic microwave muffin tin in the oven thinking it was silicon.  Being debilitatingly clumsy, baking with me is not a pretty sight.  It usually involves me burning myself on the oven, butter and sugar flying missiles because I've set the beaters on too high, and flour all over myself, the kitchen, and the dog.  Hurricane Nessie has arrived.

I'd never ever back myself to go on any of those "Hottest Home Baker" or Masterchef shows on telly (as much as I love watching them, dramatic pauses and all).  I'd just blush like a tomato, mumble to myself the whole time and probably drop my baking.  Or burn it.  Or start a fire.

What you see on the blog is after I've cleaned up the disaster zone that is a post-Nessie kitchen, after I've taken 100 photos just to get those few precious decent shots. So I am always surprised, relieved, and stoked when people actually like eating my baking or like things I blog about here.

But once you have a baking blog, you do get a rep as "The Baker" and people do expect you to be able to whip up something delicious.  So when it came to baking for my path tutorial group (Team Faed), I was actually really nervous.  What to bake in my little shared kitchen in Dunners that a) I had the ingredients for  b) I could walk down to Uni and c) was delicious.  What to bake for people who have great expectations,  delicious expectations.

In a situation like that, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  Break out the big guns, one of those tried and true, trusted few recipes you've been baking for years: Mocha Brownies.

This recipe, along with favourites like Golden Syrup Dumplings and Chocolate Pancakes (which I will def blog about!), is from my faded, very 80s, heavily dog-eared copy of The Great New Zealand Baking Book by Alison Gofton.  It still has $5 written on the inside cover which was what my Mum paid for it at a garage sale or hospice op shop years and years ago.

The recipe for Mocha Brownie, is easy as and uses ingredients you will have in your pantry.  It has not failed me yet.  It's not wow baking like macarons or a layer cake, but it is most definitely comforting, trust-worthy, sure to please a crowd kinda baking.  A trusty old friend of a recipe.

This mocha brownie is chewy, cakey, and caramelly, you might say more a blondie than a true chocolatey chocolate brownie.  A perfect mix of chocolate and coffee and some butterscotch thrown in too, thanks to the brown sugar and butter. 

It is also another example of how to squeeze as much caffeine as you can in to your day kind of baking.  Perfect for hopeless coffee addicts like moi.

{happiness = coffee + sunshine + new essie mint apple nail polish}

PS: The path tute loved the brownies.  Whew. Best path tute group EVA.

Mocha Brownies

adapted from Allyson Gofton's The Great New Zealand Baking Book

Makes around 24 brownies

2 cups brown sugar
190g salted butter
2 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 Tablespoon hot water
2 eggs
2 Tablespoon vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips.

1.  Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring.

2. In a small bowl or mug, mix coffee granules and hot water till dissolved and stir into the butter/sugar mixture.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 180oC and line a 23 cm square baking tin with baking paper.

3. Beat in eggs and vanilla essence into the butter/sugar mixture for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

4. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Stir half in to the butter/sugar mixture.  Stir in half the chocolate chips, then the rest of the flour, and finally the rest of the chocolate chips.

5.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 180oC for 40-45 minutes or until firm to touch with a little softness in the centre for chewy ooey brownie goodness.  Remember it's always better to undercook than overcook brownie!

6.  Cool in the tin before turning out and cutting into squares.  You can juj it up by drizzling the top with melted chocolate or just sift over a little icing sugar.


  1. yum. Mocha anything is my fav. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Totally convinced! Will let you know how they go when I get a chanve to bake them.

    Also, I know what you mean about the hundreds of photos and the kitchen war zone...

    I did tell you

  3. I think the most important photo in this post is the one with the brownies nestled in their baking paper, because I am like you in clumsy baker category and always always forget the baking paper!

  4. Mmmmm. This just got printed out for trying at the weekend! I'm always flying around trying new recipes but you've reminded me of how special the trusty recipes are :)

  5. ha ha I'm a klutz in the kitchen too. These brownies look amazing!

  6. Hey this is so cool Nessie! I used to take billions of photos like these and put them on a private blog that I had as well. I'm excited about trying this recipe as I've been furiously trying to find recipes to practise for flatting next year... (have been in a hall for the last 2 years). This shall be my challenge tomorrow. :)

  7. Just to add, my photos were nowhere near as artistic as yours though!

  8. jacksta: I'm a huge mocha fan too! Use to drink mochas with 3 sugars (hello diabetes, I know!) but am a flat white 1 sugar girl these days. Still love it in baking though :)

    Jagiri: Yay, def let me know how they turn out!!

    choey: hehe it's so easy to get all caught up in a baking frenzy huh?! The worst is when you forget to preheat the oven..DOH!

    timeforalittlesomething: ooh yay, let me know how it turns out ok?? Hope you had an awesome weekend!

    Lora: Hehe so good to hear there are other klutz's too! I would never have known looking at your pretty pics!!

    Annie Y: Thanks heaps Annie!!You should totes make your blog public! It's sooo much fun. You get all sorts of lovely people commenting :)

  9. Top with brownie. Wrap in plastic wrap and place on cookie sheet. Freeze until ice cream is hard.

  10. Hello, great blog! Btw, where is that mug from, with the ears? So cute!

    1. Hiya Nairi! I got the mug in a set of 4 a couple of years ago from Stevens, it was actually free with a purchase over $20! Gotta love freebies!



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