16 years ago in 2002 I was at home watching Blue Peter with my daughter Rachel, then aged 9. The lovely Matt Baker (now a stalwart of primetime BBC television!) made what he called Belfast Brownies.
Rachel being the impatient, impulsive soul that she was wanted to make the Brownies NOW! I hadn’t written the recipe down but this was in the early days of the Internet and the exciting thing was we could go to the Blue Peter website and get the recipe any time we wanted. We’d never done anything like that before!
But this was also in the days of dial-up Internet connection and very clunky computers, so we went upstairs, switched on our massive desktop computer and waited….
When the computer woke up, we connected to the Internet…and waited again.
For several minutes we listened to the squeaking and buzzing on the line whilst the connection was made, and of course no one could use the phone!
We finally got the recipe and after a quick trip to the village shop for chocolate we got baking.
The Brownies were AMAZING!! Soft and sticky in the middle, light and crunchy on the top – just as they should be.
That recipe has been used hundreds of times since that day 16 years ago and is always rolled out for school fetes, village events, family parties and gatherings of friends. They also taste wonderful served warm with raspberries and really good vanilla ice cream as a desert.
These days visitors to my husband’s stone carving studio will always be treated to a Blue Peter Brownie (now renamed Ticket Office Brownies after the studio!).
Rachel is now 24 and whenever she or her sister come home to visit they will have a box of Blue Peter Brownies to take away with them.
The original print out from that day has almost disintegrated – it’s covered in chocolate and has been folded and unfolded hundreds of times over the years! I’ve now written it out again as I don’t want to destroy the original page completely but I still keep it in my recipe book – it’s part of our family baking history and holds such a lovely memory of that day.
225g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g Self Raising flour
50g chocolate chopped up (ALWAYS Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – nothing else will do!)
Melt the butter, stir in the cocoa
Whisk eggs, beat in castor sugar and add vanilla essence
Pour in butter & cocoa mixture
Add flour and mix well
Stir in chocolate pieces
Pour into a greased tin (whatever tray bake type tin you have to hand)
Cook at 160 C for 15 – 18 minutes or so. Timing is crucial – check at 15 minutes then keep checking every couple of minutes. The top should be starting to crack and they will seem undercooked but that’s how they should be!
Leave the brownies to cool for a few minutes in the tin then cut into pieces and cool on a wire rack.
I really hope you enjoy them as much as my family, friends and I have over the years!