I had been wanting to bake something Christmassy last year in an effort to embrace the Christmas spirit, considering the lack of festivities all around. When I eventually managed to get some plain flour, I was all but exhausted and couldn’t bring myself to bake anything too difficult or fancy. Plus, there would just be the two of us devouring the sweet treats.
In the end, I opted for brownies – not very Christmassy, I know. But still very tasty indeed. I used a full-proof recipe. But it wasn’t as good as the previous times I made it. Parts were fudgey – truly the best bits – whilst other parts were cakey, which hadn’t happened before.
When we cut into them, the outer parts started to crumble, it was clearly quite dry in places. Much drier than I was expecting. According to a Nigella forum, brownies that crumble when cut can be due to over beating the eggs. This may have been the issue, I do recall beating the eggs with a fork for quite a while. The forum states that the eggs should only be whisked gently and briefly. The air trapped when beating can cause brownies to rise as they bake, with a gap between the top crust and the base, causing the brownies to become more cake-like – hence the crumbling.
Brownies can also crumble if they are still warm, and we impatiently cut the brownies as they smelt so good! Maybe next time we should wait till they have properly cooled. Another article suggested creating an ice bath with a shallow roasting pan and placing the brownies tray into it to shock the brownies, causing them to stop cooking. Maybe next time. Though the brownies weren’t perfect, they were still pretty tasty with some whipped cream!
In previous years I had baked black forest gateux for Christmas, a truly decadent cake indeed. That year there were quite a few of us devouring this beast of a cake. I remember it taking an absolute age to make.
In other years when I had more patience I would make Christmas cookies and decorate them. I say patience, as I’m not great at piping or using icing at all really. Definitely a work in progress! Also, my Christmas-looking designs aren’t the most creative, but the cookies sure tasted good.