Baking the Best Brownies
What makes a great brownie? This question cannot be answered without first entering into the great brownie debate – should a brownie be cakey or fudgy? I believe the answer is in the name, remembering that brownies were originally known as Chocolate Fudge Brownies (- or 'brown fudgies' as my Mum used to call them). With that in mind I set out to create the ultimate fudgy brownie.
Understanding the role of each ingredient in baking allowed me to develop the ideal balance between texture and flavour. The fudgy, slightly chewy texture is created using cocoa powder, a combination of sugars, fresh eggs, and just enough flour to give structure. The intense rich velvety smooth chocolate flavour is thanks to a unique blend of chocolates, Irish creamery butter, and a generous pinch of sea salt to make those flavours pop. And absolutely no chemical raising agents.
The final secret ingredient, that makes my brownies unique, is me. I don't share my recipe but I believe, even if I did, yours would turn out differently. The recipe, the science, the instructions only takes you half way. The rest comes from me, which is why I bake each and every one myself.
My journey here was not a straight line (which we know is the shortest distance between two points). I oscillated back and forth between a love of baking and a love of maths. Not such polar opposites as they may seem. Both feed a passion for rules, accuracy and precision.
I studied maths at the University of Nottingham and cookery at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. In Nottingham I learned to prove the shortest distance between two lines is indeed a straight line. At Ballymaloe I learned about ingredients: where they come from; how to use them; the difference they can make to a dish. I met some wonderful people: inspiring teachers; artisan producers; green fingered gardeners; business mentors.
I travelled, ate, and cooked my way round the world working in IT for an airline. For a while I called San Francisco home, immersing my inner hippy in this vibrant city bustling with boho bakeries. Finally settling in London, I opened Fidelma's Kitchen in 2011, baking cookies, muffins, cakes, bakes and literally tens of thousands of brownies for independent artisan coffee shops.
These peaks and troughs have all come together to make me who I am, and who I am makes my brownies what they are.
So here they are, my ultimate chocolate brownies....
Oh and this is me.... (I don't like having my picture taken)