As with cakes, I've picked up a few brownie recipes over the years, which I'd like to recommend to you:
Our favourite plain chocolate brownies:
200g plain chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids, the more the better)
600g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
250g plain flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan oven, Gas 4. Prepare a shallow baking tin (30 x 20cm; 12 x 8") as appropriate. I use a roasting tin about 3cm (just over 1") deep, which is completely lined with baking parchment - it makes the brownies much easier to remove after baking.
Cut the butter into cubes, break the chocolate into squares and melt them together in a large mixing bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and cool a little if necessary, so that the mixture is no hotter than blood heat (you don't want to scramble the eggs!).
Stir in the vanilla extract and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until the mixture is well blended each time.
Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture, mix in carefully initially, to avoid a flour cloud, then beat the mixture until smooth. Only beat until well-blended - it should only take a few seconds.
Put the mixture into the baking tin and spread out evenly, then bake for about 40-55* minutes until a testing stick comes out almost clean. There should be a few moist crumbs clinging to the tester, but not raw batter.
Cool for a few minutes, then cut into bars with a thin sharp knife. Leave in the tin until completely cold before removing (unless you want to eat them warm!). I usually cut into 24 bars (8 x 3), but you could cut into smaller portions, depending on appetitie and occasion.
*There is a wide range on the cooking times, because everyone's idea of the ideal brownie is different. If you like them really gooey, you might like to try a first test even sooner!
Half quantities can be made in a 7" square tin - will need just a few minutes less cooking time.
Praline Brownies These have a lower sugar content than the recipe above, which I've been using for years, but this is counteracted by the huge amount of chocolate in the recipe - 225g in the brownie mix and another 225g chopped and scattered over the top. I make these with a mix of 100g pralines (Guylian seashells), 75g plain chocolate and 50g white chocolate as a topping. I found they needed an extra 5 minutes in the oven, and I didn't bother with the quick cooling, but I don't like my brownies as gooey as some people do. You can also try different toppings; I tried Green and Black's Mayan Gold Chocolate, but I've now decided, after several attempts to use it, that I don't really like that used in baking. An attempt to use soft fudge as a topping didn't work very well, as the fudge sank through the brownie mix, leaving deep holes over the surface.
Chocolate Chipotle Brownies I made this recipe in an 8" square pan, so that I could cut it into bars, and left out the beer-soaked raisins as I don't think raisins belong in brownies. I also cut down the amount of chipotle powder the first time I made them as I was worried about making them too hot, but it could have taken more heat. I had to make chipotle powder from dried whole chillies, but it can be bought from specialist suppliers online.
Chocolate Mocha Brownies This is really just a chocolate traybake cake; it's far too light to be a real brownie. However it has it's place - for children and elderly aunts (perhaps leave out the nuts) and at times when you want something less rich (as if!!).