21 Aug 2016

chocolate hazelnut brownie

It’s good to have working, reliable scales in my kitchen again! Because, as soon as you don’t, every recipe you’re tempted by measures ingredients out by grams, not cups. Is this volume or mass or something else? I don’t know, but until recently, I couldn’t do it!

A few months ago I knocked my kitchen scales off the kitchen counter, and that was that; the spring mechanism was absolutely bung. Like a wonky clock, the little arm that dialled around was immovably set. Gah!

I actually prefer to scoop out my sugar, flour and cocoa (or spoon it into the cups to avoid incorrect compaction). I have a sweet pastel set, shaped like miniature mixing bowls. They even have a little pouring lip — so small it’s ineffective — but their soft pretty colours make me very happy.

But, scales are called for. I tried to get by — once I phoned mum and asked her to weigh out some dry ingredient then transfer it to cups, so I would know what to use. Not ideal.

Have you tried to buy new scales recently? They are all digital.

Which presents a real problem to me, because I’m allergic to digital scales. Or they’re allergic to me. They do not work for me. I must have some magnetic force field that disrupts their digital-ness. They give crazy, improbably readings, or simply blink off (I could never wear a digital watch as a kid either, now that I think of it). I’ve gone through countless batteries, and two, maybe three actual scales; either returning them to the shop or giving them to mum.

Finally, after much ringing and googling around, I found a non-digital replacement for my scales, online. I wanted the finer ones that went up in 5 grams increments — and they really were hard to track down. So I bought two, one for spare, and the one I’m using is being stored and used very carefully.

Chocolate hazelnut brownie
Adapted from a delicious recipe for a ‘sheet cookie’. But made smaller, in a brownie tin, so moister and … a brownie.

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a 20 cm brownie tin or small slice tin (as seen in here. Okay, I've made it twice in two different tins! But I'm still calling it a brownie)
  • Melt 50 gms 70% dark cooking chocolate.
  • Cream 100 gms butter with ½ cup brown sugar. Beat in 1 egg, then the melted chocolate.
  • Sift in ½ cup hazelnut meal, ½ cup spelt flour, 1 tbspn cocoa, and ¼ tspn bicarb soda.
  • Fold in 75 gms of milk cooking chocolate that you’ve chopped roughly (you want some chunks to remain for texture).
  • Put in the tin – as I said, I’ve made this twice, and once it was super hard to spread, and the second time not a problem. I’m blaming the change in weather on that.
  • Now scatter over 1/3 cup hazelnuts that you’ve roughly chopped up and press in lightly.
  • Bake for 20 minutes before checking; like a brownie, this should stay moist.
  • Remove from oven and try very hard not to eat it all at once.


  1. Bugger about the scales, glad you were able to replace them. I don't mind the digital ones... they are actually brilliant, as you can add to the bowl as you go, and not lose count of the measure!

    Lovely recipe, E. Choc = hazelnuts = heaven xx

    1. I only wish I could use digital scales - I know they'd be wonderful with functions like that!
      and you're right lizzy - that's a good formula :-)

  2. Funny how we can affect things. If my grandfather wore a wristwatch it would always stop so he wore a pocket watch instead. I got through so many batteries with digital scales that I bought mains powered ones.
    The main problem with using cup measures is that UK, USA and Australian ones don't always appear to be the same. Add to that my grandmother's recipes use teacup and who knows what size they are.
    Chocolate and hazelnut - what's not to like?

  3. I bet your mother's teacups were dainty little china things, anne - not the great big mugs we use today! that would make for very different baking outcomes.
    and a pocket watch! how romantic an idea in these days of smartphones, when even wristwatches seem old-fashioned to some people. I like that idea!

  4. I have been craving chocolate today...and this is not helping lol! I've heard of people setting off electronic equipment before. We better keep an eye on you ;)

    1. ha ha - but I never have problems in airports! just kitchens!
      I'm always craving chocolate lately. give in to it, jem :-)

  5. This is very interesting e and your brownie looks sublime. I Love my digital scales and they would be one of the most used items in my kitchen, particularly when I am making bread. These days if I find a recipe that I want to cook that is measured in cups I convert it all to weights before I even start. Isn't it interesting how we develop our cooking habits?


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