Writing this post pains me.
You see, I used to think that Nigella was never wrong. Ever. Nigella is perfect in every way.
Until Friday. Until I made the Nutella Brownies from Simply Nigella.
It all seemed so promising. The ultimate brownie made of nutella and eggs…with a little icing sugar. Miss 18 was excited- she loves nutella and she loves brownies. And Nigella’s snow flecked brownies from Feast are still the brownie to beat all brownies.
So I made them.
Miss 18 hung around- as she always does- for the beater and the bowl. She says it’s her contribution to the baking process.
The first sign of trouble came as she licked the spoon I’d used to mix the batter.
‘Oh,’ she said, sounding disappointed.
‘What does that mean?’ I asked. ‘That “oh”?’
‘I’m not keen.’
She was less keen when they came out of the oven.
‘I’m sorry Mum, but I’m disappointed. Nigella talked these up and,’ she was shaking her head, ‘they taste like jellied chocolate squares- like those choco, jubey lollies.’
‘It’s not that they’re awful,’ she said, ‘just that they’re not brownies. I guess if I was gluten free they’d be good.’
Because it was a girls night in, I’d also made her sweet potato macaroni from Simply Nigella. Nigella had described it as the best macaroni ever. That’s a mighty claim- especially for us.
‘What do you think?’ I asked her. ‘Is it the best ever?’
She chewed some more and shook her head sadly. ‘No. It’s good, it’s really good, but Jamie’s pumpkin mac is better.’ Feeling generous she added, ‘if I hadn’t had that, I’d rate this one up there.’
Everyone’s a critic.
On Sunday I had an opportunity to redeem myself for what had become known as the great brownie disappointment, I dragged out the Annabel Langbein books. In Simple Pleasures I found a recipe simply titled The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie. Yes, it’s a big call.
‘That’s a big call,’ Miss 18 commented.
This is a non-conventional brownie recipe. The secret ingredient is, like her Sticky Toffee Pudding, dates soaked in a combo of water, butter and bicarb soda. It’s a dark, thick and sticky batter with most of the flavour coming from a whole cup of really good dark cocoa powder.
And the result? Miss 18 closed her eyes and declared that it was as good as the Nigella classic- but different.
Hubby took a bite, closed his eyes and went one better: ‘I think this is the ultimate brownie,’ he said.
Sorry Nigella. I still love your brownies…and your pavs…and the sweet potato mac…and, most of all, you. Truly, I do. But the Nutella brownies? Nope.