Over the last few years, the Mount Albert Sports Day Baking Contest has been gaining in popularity. It is an event that is near and dear to my heart and this year we are aiming to have a few more categories than last year and a lot more prize money. Bakers from all over East Gwillimbury and beyond are invited to put their best baking up against other enthusiasts. One of the best parts of the day is when all of the baking is auctioned off in the refreshment tent. You can really get some bargains!
One of the new categories is for “brownies” (there is also a “square” category for all other squares) and the recipe below is a good example of stepping outside the box to really wow the judges. There is a slight bit of heat from the dried chili flakes and a bit of sweet from the dried cherries. Combine those two tastes with a simple brownie batter made with good bittersweet chocolate and you’ve got a very tasty brownie indeed.
For times and more details about the baking contest or other events going on that weekend (including the flower show run by the East Gwillimbury Gardeners) check out the website at www.mountalbertsportsday.com
Makes one 8-inch pan
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ tsp dried red chili flakes
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Grind the red chili flakes in a clean coffee grinder or in a mortar & pestle. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes or until fluffy and pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.
Whisk the flour, sea salt and ground red chili flakes together in a small bowl. Add to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and mix just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the dried cherries evenly on the top of the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the centre is just barely wobbly. Transfer to a cooling rack and then refrigerate until firm.