when i joined Instagram way back in 2011, it introduced me to a world of food, and with it, food bloggers, stylists, photographers and recipe developers. and following one led to another. i had with time compiled my list of chosen handles, of which the talented prodigy Kamran Siddiqi (@kamrantsg) was one. so it is little wonder when he was out with his first cookbook, i knew i had to bag myself a copy, which i also have to say at first was met with a lot of resistance from having to add to my stockpile of cookbooks, most of which i hadn’t even looked at in a while, leave alone the many recipes in my ever-increasing to-do list. now i know you must not judge a book by its cover but i think exceptions can be made with a cover that looks like this! before i knew it, i had ordered myself one.
when it finally reached me from the long shipping wait-time, it took me all of two nights to read/ogle my way through each recipe/picture trying so hard not to lick each page clean (how does he on earth get his bakes to look so good in print?).
if that wasn’t enough i ran through his blog sophisticatedgourmet only to find most (which at one point felt like all) of the recipes from the book already listed on his blog. *sigh*? well, no. because in a world where nearly everything has come to be digital, i still like my books. don’t get me wrong – i’m no bibliophile or bibliomaniac. but i still like taking a good book to bed. i like how the pages of a newly bound book smell. i like to feel each page, turn them over and insert a paper bookmark from where to take over next. the sensory experience of reading a paperback or a hardbound cover book is much too much to forego for an artificial light emitting e-reader.
i have to confess i don’t get around to trying recipes off cookbooks that easily. sometimes i’m short on time, sometimes on ingredients (in which case i would just give the recipe a miss ‘coz if it’s not made off simple pantry ingredients, i don’t even want to bother) but most of the times, it has to do with a case of extreme procrastination. today, i wanted to make an honest sincere attempt at overcoming that with these everyday brownies from the amazing cookbook i just babbled about at length. although i have only two definitive brownie recipes that in all honesty i swear by namely the baked brownie recipe and these cocoa brownies by alice medrich, i must say these ones by Kamran are unique for two reasons – one, they call for a small measure of dark brown sugar and two, they recommend using eggs straight off your refrigerator! now who wouldn’t prefer a recipe that does not have you preparing in advance getting all of your baking ingredients to meet strict room temperature standards?! moreover Kamran actually advocates the use of cold eggs for fudge-y brownies and room temperature eggs for cake-y brownies – a well guarded secret by some of the most renowned world test kitchens i say! and i must confirm it to have worked with these brownies turning out to be insanely chocolatey and fudgy while still holding their shape. everyday brownies, everyday exotic!
- 1 cup / 225 g unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups / 300 g castor sugar
- 1/3 cup / 65 g packed dark brown sugar (i used dark muscovado sugar)
- 1 1/2 cup / 130 g unsweetened cocoa powder (i used dark cocoa from carrefours)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, cold
- 3/4 cup / 90 g flour
- 1 cup walnuts (optional, i left these out)
- 150 g roughly chopped dark chocolate (optional, i left these out)
line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. melt the butter in a microwave oven on low power in bursts of 20-30 secs depending on how cold/solidified it is. with a whisk or wooden ladle, mix in both the sugars and cocoa. the mixture would look gritty at this point. stir in the eggs and the vanilla extract. whisk until a smooth batter is formed. fold in the flour gently just until it is incorporated, do not overmix. stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts if using. pour into the lined pan and bake in a preheated 165 degC oven for 40-45 mins or until a skewer reveals moist crumbs. let the pan cool for about 10 min. transfer the brownie square onto a wire rack to cool completely. i baked these in the night and left them wrapped in foil overnight to be cut the morning after. these will keep well in an airtight container for upto a week.