The alcohol in these seriously rich and tasty “adult brownies” can be left out – “for the sake of the children“. However, for us grown-ups, let’s go for it. But if you’re driving anywhere, don’t eat too many.
I’ve made the brandy version. As yet I haven’t made the Amoretto version, but I definitely will soon. I’ve given details for this version in the ingredients list.
Makes: 16 squares, or 12 larger oblongs
Time: 5 – 10 minutes the night before baking. On the day: 30 minutes hands-on, 35 minutes baking, plus cooling time, then another 20 minutes to cut and decorate.
Need: A 20cm (8”) square baking tin
- 125g/4½oz dates
- 30g/1fl oz – 50ml/1¾fl oz brandy (or Amaretto)
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter + a little to grease the tin
- 300g/10oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 125g/4½oz soft light brown sugar
- 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
- 75g/2½oz golden syrup
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or ½ tsp almond extract)
- 75g/2½oz plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 60g/2oz digestive biscuits (or Amaretti), broken into small pieces
To decorate (All optional)
- 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate
- 15g/½oz butter
- A few sprinkles or other “adornments”
The evening prior to baking– Cut the dates into small pieces, place in a shallow bowl and pour over the brandy. Microwave on low power for a few seconds just to soften the dates then mash with a fork. Cover with cling film or a plate and leave overnight.
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C / fan 140°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Butter & line the tin.
2. Put the chocolate into a bain marie on a low heat. While the chocolate is melting, put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a large saucepan and gently melt. Stir well to make sure all the sugar dissolves.
3. Stir the brandy soaked dates and the melted chocolate into the above mixture.
NB If the dates are too firm, stir in a little warmed milk (or brandy!)
4. Lightly beat the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract. Add this to the main mixture and beat until well mixed.
5. Sift over the flour and salt then fold in with the broken biscuits.
6. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it if necessary. Bake for about 35 minutes. (It needs to be slightly wobbly when baked.) Remove from the oven, and leave to cool. Either turn it out now or leave in the tin to harden.
7. Turn out of the tin if you haven’t already done so, remove the paper and trim the edges. Using a sharp knife or a metal dough scraper, cut it into pieces, or cut it while still in the tin and remove piece by piece.
8. For the optional decoration, melt the chocolate and butter together over a bain marie then brush this over the surface of the brownies. (You may need to invert the brownies to use the flatter surface.) Add any sprinkles or just leave well alone.
NB If you do use sprinkles, get them ready before melting the chocolate – tip some into a small bowl and place nearby. I usually use a teaspoon with just a few on and tap the spoon gently to sprinkle them accurately.
I hope you make and enjoy this tray bake. Click this link for more tasty traybake recipes. Here are some of my personal favourites that I think you’ll love too:
Minty Millionaire’s Shortbread