Annabel Crabb’s re­laxed and hu­mor­ous ap­proach to en­ter­tain­ing is re­fresh­ing. In a new cook­book, Special Guest, she and co-au­thor Wendy Sharpe show how to turn easy ba­sic fare into some­thing of a cel­e­bra­tion.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by ROB PALMER STYLING by VANESSA AUSTIN

ex­clu­sive ex­tract from the queen of desserts’ new book

Hibiscus brown­ies

Ev­ery­one has their favourite brownie recipe, I know, but I urge you to try this one, be­cause it might just suc­ceed to the throne and be­come your king of all brown­ies. The idea of slip­ping hibiscus into choco­late brown­ies could only have been thought up by a home-worker, re­ally. Here, for your en­joy­ment, is Wendy’s rst-per­son ac­count of in­vent­ing the hibiscus brownie: “Dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly scram­bled chaotic week and with the cup­boards in cri­sis, I con­sumed lit­tle out­side kim­chi and cof­fee, but when that was gone, I moved on to nib­bling the dried petals of hibiscus tea. And, ac­tu­ally, those things are sur­pris­ingly de­li­cious – tart and tangy. If you can’t nd them, or this combo sounds like a step too far into weird-food world, then stick with some mus­caty sul­tanas and wal­nuts: old school, maybe, but just right, es­pe­cially with a dash of cream.”

125g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened 250g caster sugar 2 eggs 75g ( ½ cup) self-rais­ing flour 2 ta­ble­spoons un­sweet­ened co­coa pow­der 100g dark choco­late (70% co­coa), finely chopped 20g dried hibiscus flow­ers, finely chopped thick (dou­ble) cream, to serve

Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and dig out your bak­ing tin that best ap­prox­i­mates 25cm x 20cm. Tear off a sheet of bak­ing pa­per roughly the same size and, us­ing wet hands, screw it up into a ball, then un­furl and use to line your tin (this neat lit­tle trick helps to stop the bak­ing pa­per jump­ing around so much).

2 Us­ing an elec­tric mixer, cream 100g of the but­ter with the sugar un­til light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat­ing on high speed un­til com­bined. Sift in the flour and co­coa and fold in gen­tly. Melt the re­main­ing 25g of but­ter in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Add the choco­late, then im­me­di­ately re­move from the heat. There should be enough resid­ual heat to melt the choco­late, but you might need to swirl the pan a bit, or give it an­other 5 sec­onds on the heat to melt the last bits. (This is my way of melt­ing choco­late with­out a dou­ble boiler: the but­ter acts as a pro­tec­tive buf­fer to shield the choco­late from the hot pan, and also helps the choco­late to glide out of the pan more eas­ily.) Pour the melted choco­late into the bat­ter, then add the hibiscus flow­ers and fold ev­ery­thing to­gether un­til just com­bined.

3 Scrape the brownie bat­ter into your tin and use a pal­ette knife to spread it out to the edges of the tin. Bake for about 20–25 min­utes un­til mostly set but still with a slight wob­ble in the cen­tre. Leave to cool in the tin be­fore cut­ting into squares. Over time, you will work out whether you like your brown­ies gooier or chewier and ad­just the cook­ing time ac­cord­ingly (less for gooey, more for chewy). Me, I like them both ways. Serve at room tem­per­a­ture, or ever so slightly warm, with cream.

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