As a photographer and stylist, I love anything that I can make individual sized. Hang on. Scratch that.
As an eater, I love anything that I can make individual sized too. Especially desserts. Especially those that are cakelike, where I might just prefer a slightly higher crust-to-center ratio. Brownies are no exception, which is why, perhaps, I am tempted every time I walk past those two-bite brownies in the little buckets they sell at Whole Foods. I’ve decided that when they say two bite, they don’t mean it takes two bites to eat them. They mean, you will have two, bite sized brownies anytime you spot them.
Last night, with some last minute company coming over, I whipped up a batch of Donna Hay’s version, with a few tweaks of my own. The recipe called for cooking the brownies individual sized, 4oz, non-stick cups. Now, I have a lot of props and a lot of bakeware, but nothing that quite fit that description.
So, instead, I decided to make the brownies in oven-safe espresso cups knowing good and well that they wouldn’t just pop out, but would be lovely to eat with a spoon, almost like a molten chocolate cake. To change it up a bit more, I also added a good shake of cinnamon to the batter. I love the subtle heat that the cinnamon adds to chocolate dishes. Each little cup it’s own spoonful of densely dark, spicy chocolatey goodness. It’s really hard to go wrong with that.
Of course, you can make these as bite sized brownies too… a mini muffin pan works beautifully for that, you’ll just make about 2 dozen rather than the 9 that the recipe makes. Keep an eye on them as they bake, so you don’t dry them out.
Cup o’ Brownie
Adapted from Donna Hay’s New Food Fast p78
5oz unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 t cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
a dash of salt
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Blend butter and sugar in a mixer until pale and creamy. Then, mix in the remaining ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter in to oven-safe cups that are 4 to 6 oz in size. You can use ramekins, of course… or, see if you have any tea or espresso cups that will work. I have these that I love. Fill to top, and smooth with a spatula.
Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cups. The cakes should be set on the top, but still very soft and moist in the center. If you wait until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean, you’ve waited too long.
Let the brownies sit for a few minutes, but serve while still warm, ideally with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a shot of espresso.
Makes between 4 and 8 cups, depending on cup size.