Ah, popcorn brownies. An odd thing for someone who is not a big popcorn fan to make. I was inspired by the Paul A. Young class that my mother and I attended. What we ate that day is somewhat of a glorious chocolate-y blur, but it included a popcorn chocolate so delicious that my mother ended up ordering some to be sent directly to her door. And when I say ‘some’, I think she got about eight bars.
So, while I am not a real lover of popcorn in its purest form (it’s fine, it’s just a bit… meh), I liked the idea of it in chocolate. The concept of a salty crunch in a brownie appealed to me. Unsurprisingly, because, well, brownies. Brownies and I, we have previous, you know?
As always, I couldn’t resist gilding the lily. I felt like the brownies needed one more element. I couldn’t work out what it might be for a while, until I was searching for marmalade in the cupboard (ooh, marmalade brownies! Now there’s an idea…) and came across a jar of biscuit spread. I just about managed to stop myself from eating the entire jar of biscuit spread with a spoon, and instead used it in a brownie recipe. For you guys. Because I’m kind like that.
I took these brownies to a friend’s house after I’d finished photographing them, and everyone there assured me that they are a winner. So I can recommend this (perhaps slightly odd) combination of ingredients with confidence. They’re chocolatey. They have a salty popcorn crunch. And they’ve got caramelised biscuit spread on top. You can’t lose, really.
If you have never tried Lotus Biscuit Spread then… well, maybe save yourself and avoid it, because that stuff is addictive. It’s really, really good here, and you can get it at large supermarkets. If you don’t want to use it, or can’t find it, then you can substitute home-made or shop-bought salted caramel. You could also stud the top of the brownies with chocolate chunks, or leave them as popcorn-only brownies. But really, the biscuit spread is delicious.
I used salty popcorn here because I didn’t want the brownies to be overly sweet, but of course you can use whatever weird and wonderful popcorn you like.
200g good quality 70% dark chocolate
2 large eggs, plus 1 extra yolk
225g golden caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 tsp salt
15g salted popped popcorn, crushed into small pieces (I put it in a sandwich bag and bashed it)
150g Lotus Biscuit Spread
- Break your chocolate into pieces, chop your butter into rough cubes and place them both in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and leave them to melt, stirring occasionally. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20x20cm square tin.
- While your chocolate and butter melt, mix your eggs with your extra yolk, and weigh out your sugar. When your chocolate and butter have completely melted, beat in your sugar (I use an electric hand whisk), followed by your eggs. Add your flour and salt to the mixture and beat that in too. Stir through your crushed popcorn
- Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth the surface, and then dollop your biscuit spread, if using, on top of the batter and swirl it around with a knife or skewer. Bake for around 25 mins – remember brownies will firm up as they cool.
- If you need to slice these neatly or take them anywhere then let them chill and firm in the fridge for a couple of hours first. They are also delicious eaten warm and gooey from the oven.