Ingredients (metric measurements)
225 g butter , plus extra for greasing
250 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
225 g golden caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
150 ml plain flour
¼ of a vanilla pod
40 ml double cream
15 g salted butter
60 g caster sugar
40 g golden syrup
Start by making your caramel. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds, then place into a pan.
Combine with the cream, half of the butter and a good pinch of sea salt. Cook, whisking, over a low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until it’s just bubbling, then take the pan off the heat and set aside.
Place the caster sugar and golden syrup in a medium heavy-based pan over a low heat. Don’t stir, just gently swirl the pan to help dissolve the sugar.
Turn up the heat to medium and keep swirling until the sugar turns into a golden caramel.
Take the pan off the heat. Discard the vanilla pod from the hot milk, then stir in the caramel with a wooden spoon.
Return it to a low heat while you stir in the remaining butter, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Scrunch up a large piece of greaseproof paper, make it wet (shake off the excess), then use it to line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin.
Pour in the caramel, sprinkle with another pinch of salt, and place it on a tea towel in the fridge for 30 minutes, until you have a thick, gooey caramel.
Once the caramel has been chilling for 15 minutes, start the brownies. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line another 20cm x 30cm baking tin.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Chop and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
Once cooled slightly, whisk in the eggs, then sift and fold in the flour until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the tin.
Take your caramel from the fridge, scoop out spoonfuls and dot them into the brownie mixture, pressing to submerge. Once you have a third of the caramel left, drizzle it on top, using your spoon to ripple it through.
Bake the brownies in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until cooked but still a bit gooey.
Leave to cool for 1 hour, cut into squares and serve.
3 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
3½ oz. semisweet chocolate
2 round baked chocolate cake layers
4 oz. white chocolate
7 oz. extra-bittersweet chocolate
½ c. Toasted pumpkin seeds
12 black licorice whips
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the butter, 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the melted chocolate. Crumble 1 1/2 of the warm cake layers into the bowl and beat at low speed until incorporated. Roll level tablespoons of the mixture into 3 dozen ovals, tapering one end to shape the nose. Arrange the mice on a wax paper–lined baking sheet; press a toothpick into the tail end of each. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Crumble the remaining 1/2 cake layer and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until almost dry. Very finely crush the crumbs.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the white and extra-bittersweet chocolate together on high power until three-quarters melted. Stir the chocolates until completely melted and cooled to 90 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Working quickly, and using the toothpick as a handle, dip the mice into the chocolate to coat; let any excess drip back into the bowl. Roll the mice in the cake crumbs and press 2 pumpkin seeds into the heads of each mouse to make ears. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with water to make a stiff glaze. Transfer to a small plastic bag and snip off a tiny corner from one end. Pipe eyes on the mouse. Remove the toothpicks and insert a licorice whip into each indentation for the tails.
Got this one from one of my all time favorites, Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). Definitely more adult friendly because of the espresso, but great for a cozy night in front of the fire!
serves 4 to 5
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
4 to 5 cinnamon sticks for garnish
Heat the milk and half and half in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add both chocolates. When the chocolates are melted, add the sugar, vanilla extract and espresso and whisk vigorously. Reheat gently and serve immediately. Garnish each serving with cinnamon stick.