I had put Lily Higgins' new book 'Make Bake Love' on my Christmas wish list, but alas, I am weak and having spied it in a book shop last weekend, I couldn't wait until Christmas and so it followed me home. My new reason is that I wanted to get it for a couple of friends as a present and it would be irresponsible of me to not have tried it out first. Well, that's my excuse anyway!
The first thing about the book is that because of the heavily printed, patterned pages, it has the most intense, inky, new book smell - one of my favorite smells in the world. The next thing is that it has a story and picture for every recipe which is right and proper (and those pictures are very adorable).
I brought my copy home and pored over it that evening, and left on the couch when I headed to bed. In the morning my littlest daughter, also Lily, had found it there and snatched it up. Pointing at the front cover she exclaimed, 'Look mummy, a princess!' (it is a very pretty cover photo) and then begged a story. I read her the story of Old Henry, an elderly dog in the Higgins household. Lily loved it. As she did the 'Rocky Road Brownies'.
Here is the recipe…for the brownies, not the dog story!
200g dark chocolate
250g icing sugar
200g softened butter
110g plain flour
On the top
200g chocolate, chopped
100g nuts, toasted
100 biscuits, broken
80g pink and while marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 170c. Line a 23x33cm baking tin with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a bowl until light, add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Beat in the flour until just combined. Pour in the chocolate and mix in (taking care not to over mix). Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 mins.
Mix the topping ingredients together and scatter over the top of the brownie mixture, returning it to the oven for five mins until the chocolate has started to melt and the topping ingredients have melded together into a delicious squigy mess.
Once cool, cut into 12 - 15 squares and dust with a little icing sugar if you like.
If you have some very small people in your house it is best to keep the nuts separately for people to put on their individual portion. Lilly's recipe calls for Digestive biscuits, I have used animal biscuits here to add to the drama for my own audience - either way these don't last that long because the biscuits will get soft and unpleasant quite quickly. But I don't imagine that a bake this good will be hanging around for very long in any case.