Chocolate can be a fickle and demanding mistress. It needs to be lavished with attention. It can react badly if overheated. It always needs more time. And if, heaven forbid, you wander off and leave it unattended, it can split beyond repair. Even with the greatest of care, it can still go to pieces for reasons you simply can’t fathom. But you just can’t refuse it, even though you know the risks. And sometimes, the risks can be worth it – just look at these brownies, with layers of white and dark chocolate in every bite...
Baking with chocolate has all sorts of variables to throw a recipe out of kilter. The different levels of cocoa, cocoa butter and sugar in different types and brands of chocolate can change the texture, the taste and the intensity of flavours. So when I breezily decided to see what happened to my favourite brownie recipe when made with white chocolate instead of dark chocolate, I was expecting all sorts of trouble. I sought a modicum of safety by making a half batch with each of white and dark chocolate, putting the dark chocolate on the bottom layer so that if the white batch turned to squishy goo (or even to gooey squish) it might help create some structure. And the double chocolate hit? An added bonus!
The result was far better than I’d expected. Both layers had the fudginess I think is essential in brownies, but the texture of the white layer was a little less dense. The flavour of the white chocolate came through in the finished brownie and balanced the intense chocolateyness of the dark layer – these are the sort of brownies that you could eat three of in one sitting without curling up in a quiveringly gluttonous heap afterwards. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, though…
If you need a little (or a lot) more chocolate in your life, here’s how to make Sticky Penguin’s Two Tone Brownies
What you need
Dark chocolate layer
75 g dark chocolate
99 g butter
93 g eggs (1½ beaten large eggs – another 1½ gets used in the white chocolate layer, so you don’t end up with half an egg!)
65 g caster sugar
35 g soft brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
28 g cocoa powder
37 g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
White chocolate layer
75 g white chocolate
99 g butter
93 g eggs (1½ beaten large eggs)
125 g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
60 g self raising flour (I’m sure there was logic at the time in using plain flour with baking powder in one layer, and self raising in the other layer, but quite what it was, I have no idea)
78 g dark chocolate
What you do
1. Line a 9 inch square baking tin with non-stick paper
Make the dark chocolate brownie batter
2. Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
3. Whisk the caster and soft brown sugar with the eggs and vanilla until evenly combined.
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa, and stir until no streaks of the dry ingredients remain.
5. Pour the dark chocolate batter into the prepared tin and refrigerate for half an hour.
Make the glaze and the white chocolate brownie batter
6. Preheat oven to 160C.
7. To make the glaze, melt the dark chocolate and allow to cool. Put the cooled, melted chocolate into a piping bag or zip-lock bag with the tip snipped off.
8. Melt the white chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
9. Whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla until evenly combined.
10. Sift in the flour and stir until no streaks of the dry ingredients remain.
11. Pour over the cooled dark chocolate batter so that the bottom layer is completely covered.
12. Pipe lines of the chocolate glaze the length of the tin, about 1½ cm apart. Turn the tin 90 degrees and gently run a butter knife across the glaze to create a feathery pattern.
13. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the brownies pull away from the tin a little and the centre is just set.
14. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into pieces (I cut mine into 20).