Christmas is fast approaching and my twitter feed is awash with festive bakes. Mince pies, Christmas cake, brandy puddings…. all the wonderful things we devour during the festive period (and would never think to eat at other times of the year). The lovely folks at Hotel Chocolat got in touch a wee while back to ask if I would like to produce a festive bake using a jar of the Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Spread, and it really got me thinking as to what to make. After mass brainstorming, I decided to keep it nice and simple and make something involving chocolate. Chocolate plays a huge part in my family’s Christmas, one could even argue the most important food part. Even when we are all stuffed on the sofa after an epic Christmas dinner, there is still room for some Roses/Terry’s Chocolate Orange/Celebrations/Quality Street.
Firstly, let’s talk about the spread. WOW. As my readers are aware, I am a Nutella gal and was therefore slightly hesitant to bring another chocolate spread into my life. How wrong was I! This spread is delicious; the sweetness of the salted caramel is blended nicely with the nutty undertones of the pecan, meaning that it is not too sickly and would be a great accompiment for a chocolate dessert. So to bake something to highlight the taste, I decided to make brownies. A few years ago I received some recipe cards from Divine Chocolate, including one for indulgent brownies which I have adapted slightly for this recipe.
200g dark chocolate
100g butter (softened)
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
100g white chocolate (chopped)
75g – 100g Hotel Chocolate Salted Caramel & Pecan Chocolate Spread
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan and grease and line a brownie tin (12in x 9in). Break the dark chocolate into pieces and melt by placing in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure that it does not touch the bottom. Stir occasionally and remove from the heat once melted (alternatively, melt in the microwave).
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time (mixing well after each addition) then gently stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and white chocolate until fully combined.
Put the spread in a bowl and either beat with a spatula until it is looser, or pop in the microwave for a few seconds. Spoon half of the brownie mixture into the tin, add a layer of the spread and smooth the rest of the brownie mixture on top. Spot small teaspoons of the spread over the top of the mixture (I used half of the jar in total but more or less could be used).
Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until it feels firm. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then chop into squares to enjoy. The spread can be brought from the Hotel Chocolat website which is full of AMAZING goodies.