The title of this recipe makes me think of fifteen little girls clad in unfetching brown dresses and bobble hats, with their untrendy brown purses clipped to a belt that hoiked the dress up from definitively sad to borderline acceptable. Well that was how I looked when I was a Brownie, a million years ago (or so it seems). Now they get to wear trousers and sweatshirts, and they probably don't have to do a House Orderly badge that involved becoming a household slave for a week (or getting your mum to cheat when she signed off what you had done) or a Hostess badge that involved making cups of tea and rounds of toast. I was a terrible Brownie. I was not even vaguely house-orderly; I didn't drink tea, and I'm not sure I even knew how it was made. I couldn't cook to save my life and I didn't care - I was a pre-teen career woman, or else a book worm, but one thing I certainly was not was interested in cooking, much less baking. I would rather have had a McVities half-coated milk chocolate digestive than a home-cooked brownie and while my grandmother baked in the kitchen, and my brother (not interested in cooking either, but desperate to please) followed her slavishly, I was probably elsewhere, reading.
Anyway. Somewhere along the line I changed, although I am not sure why or how. And now I love cooking, and I find baking more therapeutic than cooking, although I cook more than I bake because it is more suiting to our life-style. One favourite of mine is Nigella's snowflake brownies, from Feast, which have white chocolate in them. They are truly divine. So I was interested to see if Jamie's could rival Nigella's. They aren't that different. Eggs, flour, butter, sugar, cocoa, chocolate - all brownie staples. Nigella puts white chocolate buttons in hers; Jamie suggests dried fruit and nuts in his. I went for macadamia nuts and dried cranberries, partly because they came in a handy sized mixed pack and partly because his alternatives -pecans and walnuts - I have put in other brownies, but I haven't previously tried with macadamias. I should note that in his live webcast to the world last week, Jamie tried to pretend that the inclusion of nuts and fruit in his brownies makes them healthy/healthier. Hmm. Nice one Jamie, but I'm not sure the government expect us to get our five a day through chocolate brownies, however many cranberries they might contain. In any case, Jamie doesn't need to bill these brownies as healthy because they are delicious - tasty is as good as healthy anyday. And today they did serve a noble healthy-ish purpose- they revived me with a blast of cocoa and sugar after a tedious morning at work. Which has to be a good thing.