Salted chocolate and pistachio brownies

I've experimented with lots of different brownie recipes over the years, but this is the one that does it for me every time. You don't have to include the caramelised pistachio nuts, obviously. But you should.

  • 80g shelled pistachios
  • 80g sugar (caster or granulated)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 150g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 10g salt
  • 220g sugar (caster or granulated)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence or vanilla seeds from ½ pod
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 90g plain flour

For the caramelised pistachios:

  1. Melt the sugar and salt in a saucepan over a medium heat. Keep an eye on it and don't let it burn.
  2. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has turned brown and thickened, add the pistachios and give them a good stir to coat them thoroughly. Remove from the heat and tip the mixture onto a sheet of baking parchment or silicon. Leave it to cool while you prepare the brownies themselves.

For the brownies:

  1. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan containing a couple of centimetres of simmering water, melt the butter, chocolate and salt.
  2. Once melted, transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Once that is thoroughly incorporated, add the eggs, stirring briskly to prevent them from setting.
  3. Finally, beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth. Sieving the flour or adding it from a shaker will make it easier to mix it in without it forming lumps.
  4. Break the mass of caramelised pistachios into small pieces and mix them into the brownie mixture. Pour it into a foil or parchment-lined tin (this recipe makes enough to fill a 20x30cm swiss roll tin).
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180°c, until a skewer inserted into the brownie comes out clean. Rapidly cooling the tin in a centimetre or so of cold water in the bottom of the sink will prevent the residual heat from continuing to cook the brownies.
  6. Once lukewarm, use the edge of the foil or parchment to lift the brownie onto a cooling rack. Leave it to cool throughly before cutting it into rectangles.

Brownies will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but they will begin to go stale if you leave them much longer than that.

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