The French pronounce them “BROO-nies”…

I’ve lived in France for quite a few years now. As an English teacher, I am subjected to ze French accent on a daily basis. In movies, this might sound sexy and sophisticated, but in real life, it’s the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue. Ask any of my colleagues: the list of crimes is long and difficult to decipher. Some of the best bloopers actually come from Monsieur le Président and his government ministers. Or my husband, for that matter. My pupils love when I tell them the story of how Hubby – on his very first visit to Ireland to meet my parents – exclaimed “There is no shit on my bed!”, to which my my mother replied, dead-pan, “Well, thank God for that.”

Don’t get me wrong – France is a good place to live (most of the time), but thanks to a long-standing tradition of defending the French language, stamping out regional languages, and a history of hating the English, the French are rather linguistically challenged. I shall now duck to avoid the flying camemberts aimed at my head after this sweeping generalization.

My kids are growing up bilingual, but their dominant language is French. They know the difference between English and French words, obviously, but if you go around pronouncing “Call of Duty” properly, nobody actually knows what you’re talking about. So, if you ask for a brownie at a bakery, they won’t get it either. You need to ask for a “BROO-nie”.

I don’t like chocolate at all. It may therefore come as a surprise that even I like these brownies. Brownies come in all kinds of styles. Some are dry and crumbly, others are moist to the point of falling apart. Some are smooth and plain, other have nuts in them. The ones I find weird are the very, very black ones. I usually use only dark chocolate (I have tried up to 80% cocoa), yet whether as a mousse or a cake, mine never look that dark. I wonder if there is some food coloring in them.

The way we like them are with lots of walnut bits, and fudgy in the centre. If you do, too, then this is the recipe for you. It’s super easy and super fast.

What you need:

50g butter

200g dark chocolate

2 eggs

150g sugar a pinch of salt

70g flour

100g walnuts (roughly chopped)


What to do:

  • Melt the butter and chocolate (I do it in the microwave, stopping every few seconds and stirring frequently).
  • Put the eggs, sugar and salt into a bowl and beat with a whisk or electric beater until it’s frothy and the colour lightens (important).
  • Add the melted chocolate. Combine thoroughly.
  • Add the flour. Combine thoroughly.
  • Stir in the walnuts.
  • Line a pan with baking paper and spread out the dough evenly (I do mine in a square pan, about 25cmx25cm)
  • Bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes

Try not to overbake them. They should still be moist on the inside for a chocolate truffle effect. Let them cool in the pan, slide out the cake and cut into squares, about 3cmx3cm for 2-bite-sized brownies, the perfect size to go with a cup of coffee.

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