‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…’
It’s become something of a festive Rosie Makes tradition at this time of year to put a seasonal spin on everyone’s baking favourite – the brownie. Last year I experimented with peppermint (still a firm fave) and the year before was chocolate, pecan and cranberry. This year, I wanted to incorporate another favourite seasonal ingredient of mine – chestnuts. Last year I used the flavour pairing in a scrummy yule log, and I love the combination of rich chocolate and the sweet nuttiness of chestnuts. You’ll be glad to hear there’s no faffing with roasting and shelling; this recipe uses whole vacuum packed ones for ease. They are soaked in a sugar mixture beforehand, giving an almost caramel-y depth of flavour to the brownie. Delicious served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as an advent-worthy dessert. To make them, you will need:
120g shelled cooked chestnuts (I used vacuum packed ones)
100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 ml dark rum (optional)
50g plain flour
1 medium egg, separated
100g unsalted butter
100g chocolate, broken up (I used a mixture of milk and dark chocolate).
Preheat the oven to 170C/ Fan 150C/ Gas 3. Chop the cooked chestnuts and put them into a bowl with half the sugar, vanilla and rum (if using) and mix well. Fold in the flour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar to make a soft meringue mixture.
Then beat in the egg yolk.
Gently melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water.
Once the chocolate has almost melted, remove the bowl from the heat and allow the residual warmth to finish the job – or you risk splitting the chocolate. Combine the chocolate and chestnut mixture. .
Fold this mixture into the meringue.
Pour into a greased and lined brownie tin (or I used pyrex) and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until just set in the middle, so they are nice and gooey.
Leave to cool before cutting, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve on your best, festive crockery.
What are you baking this advent? Are you a chestnut fan?
Recipe adapted from Adele Nozedar’s The Hedgerow Handbook.