Hundreds and Thousands of Minutes to Spare

And they say you’re too old to play in the ball pit.

Having a long summer holiday has it advantages. Actually, I don’t think it really has any disadvantages but not having a job means I have almost too much time to spare. Yesterday I was handed 6 ounces of’Pure’ and 6 of caster sugar to use up and I got excited about the endless possibilities of what I could create. However I wasn’t feeling terribly inspired.

In my first year of university I started making brownies, after few trials I had them perfected down to a ‘T’ and my lucky flat mates had something to look forward to every week. They became infamous and I even had an offer of a place to stay a couple of nights a week if I could make them brownies. Under one condition I said; “I will make you all the brownies you like if you can buy me 300 play balls.”                                                                           “Deal.”

Something so simple and yet simply delicious.

It’s now coming to the end of my summer so before I go back up to York I thought I would make sure I hadn’t lost my touch so I don’t let anyone down with the promise of the best brownies. So it wasn’t the 3 foot Eiffel Tower shaped wonder of the world I thought I would conquer in one swift scoop of sugar and dairy-free butter but there was no reason I couldn’t jazz up my brownies. A touch of colour here and there… I looked out glitter, silver balls, icing, gold leaf all sorts. But then maybe I should remind myself that less is more. Then I remembered my little ball pit deal. Brownies and multicoloured play balls?! Perfect.

Combining fun.

I increased my normal recipe due to the preweighed ingredients in front of me, and I’m not a numbers person by any means so it could have gone terribly wrong but luck was on my side (or should I be saying skill)…

6 oz pure (or any dairy free alternative to butter)

9 oz dark chocolate

3/4 tsp salt 

4 eggs

3 oz light brown sugar

6 oz caster sugar

1 tsp amaretto 

6 oz plain flour, sifted

Hundreds and Thousands

Preheat your oven to 180 C and then grease and line your tin. I try to use a smaller one as the thicker the brownie the more chance it has to be slightly gooey and therefore is 100 times tastier.

Next look out a small saucepand and pour a tiny amount of water in the bottom, over this you’ll need a heatproof bowl. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Put the chocolate, butter and salt into the bowl and melt over a low temperature.

In a separate and lager mixing bowl, break the eggs and add both sugars and amaretto, whisk them until all incorporated. Once your chocolate mixture has melted whisk this into the egg mixture. Then add and fold in your sifted flour.

Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes. (This actually all depends on your oven, for example, my oven at uni is relatively cool and it takes a minimum of 45 minutes for anything to cook whereas when I go home I forget how powerful the oven can get and this seem to burn things after about 20 minutes. So just check them every so often. You’re looking for a hard top, when you shake the tin it should wobble ever so slightly and if your stick a skewer in it should come out covered in gooey brownie mixture.)

Take them out and leave them to cool completely, otherwise the gooey middle will just slop into a mess (not saying this is a bad thing, as it’s my favourite thing to scoop it up with a spoon and eat it but you won’t be able to have squares or ‘what have you’ of brownie.) Once they are cool find a round cutter, or if not you could cut them into small cubes. Cut out as many as you can (circles create a lot of ‘waste’ but that is still edible!) Pour your hundreds and thousands into a bowl and when you have a circle roll the side edges in the hundreds of colourful balls. The inside of the brownies should be pretty sticky so they should all stick. And there you have your brownies only slightly more exciting. JAZZY.

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