Sinful Smore’s Oreo Brownies

This week I’m jetting off to a place where sleep doesn’t exist and cocktails are acceptable at any time of the day… can you guess?

That’s right., Las Vegas!!! Otherwise know as “Sin-City”.  But before I go, I want to share with you my latest bake… Sinful Smore’s Oreo Brownies. Layer upon layer of delicious naughtiness, let me break it down for you…

Buttery biscuit base. Gooey brownie. Oreo’s. More gooey brownie. Melted marshmallow.

Oh my goodness these brownies should come with a health warning, but for all the right reasons!

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Ingredients (makes 16 brownies)

For the base:
90g unsalted butter
200g plain digestive biscuits

For the brownie layer:
150g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
170g 70% good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
225g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
150g self-raising flour

For the Oreo layer:
1 pack of Oreos (plain/double stuff/peanut butter/double chocolate)

For the marshmallow layer:
1 bag of large marshmallows

Method

Line a 23cm x 23cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

  1. The biscuit base:
    Put the biscuits in a bowl/sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin until completely crushed and free from any lumps. Now melt the butter in a separate bowl set over a pan of simmering water until completely smooth. Pour the biscuits into the melted butter and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press with the back of a spoon to form an even layer. Refrigerate.SONY DSC

2.  The brownie layer:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once melted leave on the side to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a separate bowl until frothy. Now add in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour and stir until you have a thick chocolate mixture. Take the base out of the fridge and pour 1/2 of the brownie mixture over the top of the biscuit base, spreading it out into an even layer.

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3. The Oreo layer:
Place the Oreo’s on top of the layer pressing them into the mixture.

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Now dollop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie mixture on top, spread it out into an even layer so that all of the Oreo’s are concealed.

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4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top has formed a crust and the edges have started to crack. (My testing method for perfectly cooked brownies: insert a toothpick into the one of the edges, it should come out clean. Now insert a toothpick into the middle, it should come out slightly covered in mixture). 

5. The marshmallow layer:
Turn of the oven and pre-heat the grill. Layer marshmallow’s across the top. Put the brownies under the grill for a few minutes until the marshmallows have melted and are golden. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very easily!

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Leave  to cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into 16 brownies.

 

 

Frosted Walnut, Apple & Honey Cake

Deliciously moist sponge, jewelled with walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of creamy frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Mmm this cake is awesome!

September is a great month for apples with 14 varieties ripening between early September and late October. So why not steal this apple opportunity to bake something? For this recipe I’ve used Granny Smith apples, as they are particularly sweet and juicy in September and lend themselves to baked goods. Cinnamon, vanilla and honey are added to complement the apple flavour and the chopped walnuts add a crunch throughout. Every bite tastes like Autumn!

I’ve coated the cake in sweet, tangy Cream Cheese Frosting; the ideal companion to any fruit or vegetable cake. Just be sure to remember that all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing, there is nothing worse than split and grainy frosting – more about this in the recipe below. To finish I covered the top of the cake with chopped walnuts, however feel free to decorate however you wish.

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Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia, at room temperature

It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps**.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up***. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining 20g walnuts on top.

*Don’t worry if your mixture begins to curdle, it won’t affect the cake and once the dry ingredients are added the mixture will come together again.

**This step is crucial as it will soften and warm the butter sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

***This is called a “crumb-coat” and will stop any crumbs from being pulled up when frosted again.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

If you love raspberries, brownies and cheesecake as much as I do, this is the bake for you! This recipe combines the three to create the ultimate indulgence. Rich, fudgy brownie swirled with creamy tangy white chocolate cheesecake and dotted with fresh juicy raspberries.

I decided to make these as my second bake for HomeStyle magazine. So click here for the recipe and have a read of my tip tops on achieving the gooiest most delicious brownies ever!

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Lemon Glazed Blueberry Muffins

My sister has just had a beautiful baby boy and prior to my visit to meet my new nephew, she demanded one thing…. baked goods!  So what better than freshly baked blue (for a boy 🙂 )berry muffins.

Bursting with juicy blueberries with a fluffy tender crumb and topped with a sharp sticky lemon glaze… these really are the best ‘bakery style’ blueberry muffins!

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For this recipe I’ve used the favourited ‘two-bowl method’ which will give you a perfectly moist and light muffin. This method involves mixing the wet and dry ingredients separate from one another. This allows each type to be thoroughly mixed without fear of overmixing; which would result in a tough dense texture – let’s face it no one wants that!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)

For the muffins:
85g butter, melted
300g self-raising flour
115g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 medium eggs, at room temp
250ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g blueberries, fresh/frozen

For the glaze:
300g icing sugar
4tsp lemon juice
1tsp water, optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a 12 hole baking tin with muffin cases.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and baking powder until well mixed. Now in a jug whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla essence.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, mixing the whole time until everything is incorporated. Now pour in the melted butter and mix again. Finally, fold in the blueberries until completely covered in mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cases, filling each one 2/3 full. Sprinkle a little caster sugar over each muffin and tap the baking tin on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Once the muffins have completely cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together. If the mixture is too thick then add ¼ tsp of water at a time until the required consistency is reached. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins covering the top completely. Leave to set before serving.

Peanut Butter Snickers Bar Blondies

Lately I’ve been obsessing over Snickers.
Peanuts, caramel, chocolate and nougat. Seriously what is there not to love?
After the success of my Caramel Snicker Brownies, I started to think about other ways I could use Snickers in bakes. The result?
Peanut Butter Snickers Bar Blondies!

Soft and chewy peanut butter blondies stuffed with gooey melted Snickers bar chunks and drizzled with melted chocolate. Absolute heaven!

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Ingredients (makes 12 blondies)
125g light brown sugar
125g dark brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
130g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
70g creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs, at room temp
3 x standard sized (48g each) Snickers bars, cut into small chunks
a few squares of milk/dark chocolate

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C and line a 20cm square baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter in 20 second blasts on high power. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

Sieve the sugars into a separate bowl and pour in the melted butter, use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and peanut butter and mix together. Add the flour and fold the mixture together, be careful not to over mix at this point.

Finally, fold in 2/3 of the Snickers chunks before transferring the mixture to your prepared baking tray. The mixture will be very thick so try to spread it out into an even layer, pushing it into the side, as best as possible. Press the remaining Snickers chunks into the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, until the edges are just starting to crack and are firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool.

Once the blondies have cooled, melt the squares of chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it over the top of the blondies. Cut into 12 and serve. Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Bake Off Jewel Box Cake

Only 6 sleeps until The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens… excited is an understatement!!! To celebrate the occasion, my friend and I attempted a bake from the series three cook book – the Showstopping Jewel Box Cake. Don’t be fooled by it’s appearance, this cake is actually pretty easy to make. It is simply a  white chocolate sponge cake covered in jam, decorated with raspberries and wrapped in a white chocolate bow.

If I’m being completely honest, the bow is fairly challenging. We found the chocolate modelling paste a little crumbly and therefore the bow loops kept falling apart; hence the improvised ribbon stuck on top 🙂 If I was making this cake again I would suggest buying ready to roll white chocolate icing such as this one. Not only does it taste nicer but you’ll also save your self a lot of time and effort.

All in all though, this cake is 100% achievable and I’ve tried to adapt the recipe to make it as easy as possible, so why not challenge yourself this week and attempt this cake for yourself? Besides,  the white chocolate sponge is so delicious that if you only manage to bake that and cover it in jam it’s still worth it!

My attempt:

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How it’s meant to look:

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Close enough! 🙂

Ingredients (for the cake)

150g white chocolate, chopped
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature beaten into a jug
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt

Method (for the cake)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23x23cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate for the sponge and leave to cool until needed. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Now add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is very light in colour and fluffy in texture.

Gradually add the eggs, adding a tablespoon of flour with each portion, beating well after each addition. Sift the rest of the flour and the salt into the bowl and fold together using a large metal spoon. Now pour in the cooled white chocolate and fold together until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out into an even layer. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before tipping the cake out onto a plate, ready for decorating.

Ingredients (for the bow and decoration)

4 tbsp raspberry jam
500-600g fresh raspberries
1 pack ready to roll white chocolate icing (e.g. Renshaw)

Method (for the cake)

Using your hands, roll the icing into a ball to soften it. As soon as it feels smooth, shape it into a sausage. Place the sausage between two long pieces of baking paper (one sheet underneath and one on top) and using a rolling pin, roll the sausage out into a long, flat sheet. Peel off the top piece of paper.

To make the crossed ribbons, cut out two ribbon strips about 30 x 2.5cm using a long, sharp knife to get a sharp edge, peel back the paper and leave on the side. Now warm the raspberry jam in a saucepan on a low heat until melted. Brush the jam over the top and sides of the cake. Now gently press the crossed ribbons on to the cake — across the top and down the sides — to resemble a parcel. Starting with the top of the cake, press the raspberries (pointed-end up) on to the sponge in the squares between the ribbons, so the cake is covered, top and sides.

Return to the white chocolate dough and cut out:
2 strips 11 x 2.5cm (bow ends)
2 strips about 14 x 2.5cm (bow loops)
1 strip about 10 x 2.5cm (bow centre loop)

Snip triangles out of one end of the 11cm strips using scissors and remove the paper on the back. Position the strips in the centre of the cake as shown above. Now remove the paper from the 14cm strips and shape them both into loops pressing the ends together.

Peel the paper from the 10cm strip, then wrap it around the centre of the 14cm loops in a ring to hide the join; press the ends of the bow ring to seal. Position the bow on top of the bow ends in the centre of the cake, use a dab of jam to fix it in place. Reshape the loops and bow carefully until you are happy with them.

 

Caramel Topped Triple Chocolate Snickers Brownies

Oh
My
God.
These are the most outrageous brownies ever. Chocolate on top of caramel on top of chocolate on top of… you guessed it more chocolate!

Let me explain them to you…
Rich, gooey brownies loaded with melted Snicker chunks topped with sticky sweet caramel and sprinkled with white, milk and dark chocolate chunks. Too much chocolate? Never! These brownies are a chocoholic’s dream but certainly not for the faint hearted; so please bake and consume at your own risk 😉

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Ingredients (makes 12 brownies)

For the brownie:
150g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
175g good quality 70% dark chocolate, roughly broken
150g self-raising flour
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
3 x 46g Snicker bars, chopped into small chunks

For the caramel topping:
1 x can condensed milk (396g)
50g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
50g light muscavado sugar

For the topping:
50g milk/dark/white chocolate chunks

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 23x23cm baking tin with baking paper.

Start by making the brownie mixture:
Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of water on a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until fully melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Now add in the chocolate mixture and the flour and fold together until fully combined.

Transfer 3/4 of the mixture to the prepared tin, smoothing it out into an even layer. Now dot the Snicker chunks all over on top of the brownie layer. Pour the remaining brownie mixture on top and use a spoon to conceal the Snickers. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes – until the top is no longer shiny and the edges have started to crack. Leave to cool completely.

Now make your caramel:
First measure all of the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan. Now, on a low to medium heat, melt the ingredients gently until smooth and the sugar has completely dissolved.

Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring continuously, for approx. 15 minutes until it has thickened slightly. Turn off the heat and leave the caramel to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up.

Pour the caramel on top of the brownies and use a spoon to spread it into an even layer, covering the whole top.  Leave to cool (approx. 20 mins) before scattering the chocolate chunks on top, cut into 12 and serve.

 

Summer Fruit Pavlova Tart

This recipe is all about celebrating Summer. A homemade shortcrust pastry tart filled with a fresh cream, crushed meringues and topped with sweet summer fruits.

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Now please don’t be put off by making your own pastry, it’s incredibly simple and the added lemon zest will top any shop bought pastry.

Here are my pastry-making top tips:
  • Before making your pastry chill your mixing bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes and rinse your hands with cold water. This will help the butter stay cold resulting in delicate, flaky pastry every time.
  • Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter.
  • Don’t be tempted to skip the blind baking step, otherwise your tart shell will shrink.

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Ingredients (makes a 9inch tart)

For the tart

250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large free-range eggs, beaten
Splash of milk
Zest of 1 lemon
Butter for greasing the tart

For the filling

4 small meringue nests, roughly broken
250g double cream
125g crème fraiche
30g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the topping

600g mixed summer fruits
A little icing sugar, for dusting

Equipment

A 9inch tart tin
Rolling pin
Baking paper

Method

Start with your tart case:

  1. Mix the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and work it in the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles rough crumbs. Now stir in the lemon zest. Add the egg and a splash of milk, just enough to bring the dough together, and knead it into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Whilst the dough chills, pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350F and grease your tart tin with a little butter.
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle a clean work surface and a rolling pin with a little flour and roll the dough out so it is about 5cm larger than the tin. Drape the dough over your rolling pin and laying it across the tart tin. Trim off any extra bits and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners and sides of the tin. 
  4. Prick the tart all over with a fork and line with baking paper, pushing it into the sides. Fill the tart with baking beans or rice and bake it “blind” for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the tart out of the oven and lift out the baking paper and beans. Bake for a further 10 minutes until firm and golden. Leave to cool completely.

Now make your filling:

  1. Whip the double cream, creme fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla essence together with an electric whisk until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes).
  2. Mix in the broken meringue nests and fill your tart with the mixture.
  3. Finish by decorating the top with your mixed fruit’s and dusting over a little icing sugar.

Keep your tart in the fridge until ready to serve. It is best eaten within 1-2 days.

 

Lightened-up Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread

Is there a bunch of sad looking bruised bananas in your fruit bowl?

Good! I have the perfect recipe for you. A healthier (but just as tasty) banana bread, dotted with chocolate chunks and chopped walnuts and finished with a drizzle of melted chocolate.

This recipe replaces standard white wheat flour with wholegrain spelt flour as it’s a super source of protein and fibre. The bananas, cinnamon and honey add a natural sweetness, whilst the greek yoghurt makes it beautifully moist! Finally, the chopped walnuts are full of healthy fats and the chocolate chunks… well why not!? SONY DSC SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf)
120g wholegrain spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
80g chopped walnuts
2 medium/3 small very ripe blackened bananas
75g greek yoghurt (I used Total 0%)
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tbsp raw honey/maple syrup
50g milk/dark chocolate, roughly cut into chunks
20g extra chocolate, for drizzling

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 1lb loaf tin will greaseproof paper or use a silicone tin.

In a bowl combine the top 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl mash the bananas until almost smooth and free of lumps. Now mix in the yoghurt, eggs and honey until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate until covered with mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until browned on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Melt the extra 20g chocolate in the microwave in 10 second blasts before drizzling over the loaf. Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern in the chocolate.

Smore’s Brownie Pie

Not a cake fan?

Well I have a show stopping alternative, perfect for any celebration… A Smore’s Brownie Pie!

Crumbly biscuit base, topped with gooey marshmallow filled brownie mixture and finished with a drizzle of white chocolate.

If you’re fan of rich, indulgent and damn right naughty desserts then this is the bake for you. And fear not, it’s actually pretty easy to make. You can use shop bought biscuits for the base, just bash them up and add butter, and shop bought marshmallows because let’s be honest who has time to tackle that!? The brownie centre is of course my own tried and tested (and tried again!) recipe, but its a doddle I promise.
The key to this bake is all in the cooking time, you want to make sure the brownies are just done but that the top isn’t burnt in the process. So I’ve suggested checking after 20 mins and if this is the case, covering the pie with foil to protect the top, see the recipe below for more details.

Right, stop wasting time listening to my jibba jabba.. Happy Baking 🙂

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Couldn’t resist a snap of my gorgeous dog Alfie, he was so desperate for a slice but got a doggy biscuit instead 🙂

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Ingredients (makes a 8inch brownie pie)

For the base:
200g chocolate digestive biscuits
80g unsalted butter

For the brownie:
150g unsalted butter
170g good quality 70% dark chocolate
225g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
100g mini marshmallows

For decoration:
20g white chocolate, chopped

Method

Line a 8inch springform round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

To make the base, first put the biscuits in a bowl and bash with a rolling pin until completely brushed. Now melt the butter in a separate bowl in the microwave for 10 second blasts. Pour the biscuits into the melted butter and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press with the back of a spoon to form an even layer. Refrigerate.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C. Whilst the base chills, make your brownie mixture by first melting the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of water on a low heat. Once melted leave on the side to cool. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs until frothy. Now add in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour and stir until you  have a thick chocolate mixture. Finally, fold in the marshmallows. Take your tin out of the fridge and pour the brownie mixture over the top of the biscuit base, spreading it out into an even layer.

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Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes* until the top has formed a crust and has started to crack. (Test the brownies by inserting a knife into the one of the edges, if it comes out clean the brownies are done.) Leave the brownie pie to completely cool before removing from the tin.

To decorate, melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 10 second blasts until smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle over the chocolate in a crisscross pattern. Slice into 8 and serve – try it warmed with ice-cream!

*check the brownie pie after 20 mins, if it’s starting to burn cover the tin with tinfoil, shiny side up, for the remaining cooking time.