chocolate brownies

I read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner a few months ago. It was such a tear jerking, soul wrenching story, so far from the usual trash that I read (chick lit, Steig Larsson, The Twilight Saga! Eeek!), that it moved the emotionally stunted mountains within me. I don’t even know what it is, I mean it’s not like I relate to the protagonist, god my life is brilliant-cut 5-carat diamond compared to his, but you know a book has changed made a dent in your life when it makes you want to be a better person.

Or eat a brownie.

I don’t think it’s easy to become a better person. You’d need a good deal of humility knocked into you, substantially more than the heart strings pulled by a fictional story. Spending time in a war torn country, experiencing the loss of life, love and innocence first hand. The desperate need of children who don’t know where their next meal will come from, or their next hug. But even that’s not really the same is it, because at the end of the day we hop on a plane and we’re back in our lives, sheltered from the terror that is someone else’s reality.




Anyway to do my bit for Afghanistan (because I’m supporting an Afghan author who well, he moved to California 30 years ago but he’s still an Afghan!) I bought Khaled Hosseini’s next book A Thousand Splendid Suns a couple of weeks ago. It’s another doozy of a story, about life, loss, pain and endurance. I was just getting into the book when this thing called The Birthday rolled around and my friend Christine (sister of Karen Cheng) bought me The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

GODAMMIT CHRISTINE (but how I love you!).

Guys, honestly, forget the New York Times Bestsellers list, you need not ever ever purchase another book. Because this one will make you want to change your life. It will make you want to be a better person. And it show you the way.

I’ve changed. I really have. I want to be a baker, I want to bake scrumptious everythings! And I started with the chocolate brownie.

Chocolate brownie
200grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175grams unsalted butter
325grams caster sugar (I know, that’s a lot)
130grams plain flour
3 eggs
Icing sugar to decorate
a 33 x 23 x 5cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F (Gas 3).
  2. Put the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat. Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated. Finally stir in the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until flaky on the top but still soft in the centre. Be careful not to overcook otherwise the edges will become hard and crunchy. Leave to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.
Makes about 12 portions

14 Thoughts on “life altering reading: the hummingbird bakery cookbook

  1. like you, the Kite Runner really hit a chord in me. for weeks i would say “FOR YOU, A THOUSANDS TIMES OVER!” i loved a Thousand Splendid Suns (he must like that number a lot, like 1000X?) too. and really, the inclination to do good in the world hits me all the time. then i go in the kitchen and bake my ass off. i’m sure you get me.

    if you want deep, thought provoking books, hit up Jodi Picoult.

  2. These look delicious – I just got this book yesterday and can’t wait to try it out!

  3. Lan: For You A Thousand Times Over! Ahhh I love Hassan! A Thousand Splendid Suns is plenty heavy right now, I don’t think I can read any more thought provoking books, I’d never stop baking! Back to the trash for me after this one I think 🙂

    alexthepink: It’s a gorgeous book isn’t it? I’ve heard it got awful reviews on Amazon but I love it, great photos, easy(ish) recipes. I’m trying the red velvet cupcake this weekend!

  4. I desperately want to try the carrot cake recipe in it – the carrot cake at Hummingbird is for me, hands down, the best carrot cake EVER!

    Glad you had a wonderful birthday celebration bub – looks like it was a blast! and all that yumminess at Fat Duck… very very spoilt!!!

  5. I thought your favourite was the Vanilla cake with sprinkles and stars??

  6. Hi…
    Thank you for sharing such a nice recipe. I would love this item. I am giving a party to my friends this weekend at my farmhouse. I was wondering about some new item to treat my friends with. I will surely try this and let you know.

  7. Hi!
    I made these brownies last night….I ended up cooking them for about 30 mins extra and they are still really gooey apart from the crispy top. Is that how they are supposed to be?
    Taste amazing just dont seem cooked!!

    • Hi Lisa!

      An extra 30 mins sounds like a really long time! Mine usually come out a little goo-ey but they become solid after a few minutes. One of my friends also had to bake the brownies for longer (extra 20 mins I think) but that was because her oven doesn’t seal properly so it’s probably not as hot. That’s so weird that you had to bake it so much longer… this recipe I use over and over and over again and it always works. Glad it tasted good though! xx

      • Lisa Sherratt on July 14, 2010 at 11:00 am said:

        Well I thought it was a long time, I used the gas section of my oven as wen I cook things in the electric fan oven they come out really dry…I might try blasting them for five mins in the fan oven to see if it will finish them off!!

  8. Hemulen on November 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm said:

    Hey Catty ..

    thanks for sharing!! Thought I’d also pass on a fave choc-cake recipe of mine. chocolate + gooey = decadent goodness, right? Anyway, it’s here:

  9. Hello Catty:
    First time i found ur blog is becouse the brownie,and now i leave this message is becouse the book.
    i like Khaled Hosseini’s books too,specially is[A Thousand Splendid Suns],just like u said:It will make you want to be a better person:)
    so happy to hear u want to be a baker,it is a job to make prople feel happiness and satisfied…that is what i think:) Break you leg!

    and im from taiwan,maybe u can found it form my uneven writting haha

  10. I have just eaten about 10 chocolate brownies after reading this. Obviously I got distracted by the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, so er, I didn’t realise how much I was eating… 😉

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