My parents loved coffee before it was cool. When she was younger my mum became incredibly seasick on boat just after she’d had a cup of tea, and so now even the smell of it makes her feel sick. As a result she doesn’t drink it, ever, and has only recently even been able to stomach making a cup of tea for someone else. So what did my dad do? He switched to drinking coffee and has done for the 30+ years they’ve been together. That’s true love right there. I’d rather give up Garry than a cup of tea.
Coffee – and we’re from South Wales rather than the South East so when I mean coffee I mean Nescafe’s finest – makes up many of my childhood memories. Long car journeys always ended with my mum saying “Ooo, I’m desperate for a cup of coffee”. My dad, who is the clumsiest person in the world, has many a time tripped and flung an entire mug of coffee down a wall. My parents are always slightly embarrassed when they get builders/plumbers in, because they don’t own any mugs that aren’t gigantic buckets, all the better for filling with and consuming enormous amounts of coffee.
As the coffee culture has changed in this country, so have my parents’ coffee drinking habits. A bit. A tiny bit. As well as drinking absolute gallons of Nescafe Gold, they also occasionally make themselves a fancy coffee from a fancy coffee machine. Dad takes great delight in making lattes and cappuccinos and occasionally bitter, black espressos, and pushing them into the hands of slightly bemused guests. It’s glorious. It’s gorgeous. It’s so my parents.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s Father’s Day on the 19th June, and if your parents are as obsessed with coffee as mine are then a coffee machine might be a good idea. At least that’s what the folks at Debenhams thought. They sent me a coffee machine (this one, which is super cool and looks like some kind of friendly robot companion) and asked me to create a recipe using coffee with it.
I made cocoa chocolate brownies, of course.
So, these brownies. I like my flavours intense – dark chocolate, bitter coffee, golden caramel – so this might be a little strong if you’re not the same. If that’s the case, don’t worry. A little bit of icing sugar to the top (like I did here) or swopping the chocolate chips for white chocolate will lighten it up a bit.
This makes 16 decently sized brownies. They’re squidgy, but not so squidgy that you need to eat them with a spoon or suck your fingers clean of chocolatey goop afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, I love brownies like that, but they’re not always practical. You could make these and take them to work with you for snacks later in the week – if you and your family don’t devour them all in one go whilst they’re still warm from the oven. And if you like your brownies gooey, feel free to take them out of the oven 5 minutes earlier than the recipe says you should.
Thanks to Debenhams for sending me this coffee machine, which I’m sure my dad is going to love. If you want to get your dad a coffee machine for Father’s Day you can have a look at Debenhams’s options, or any of their other Father’s Day gifts.
And finally – what are you getting your dad for Father’s Day? I need inspiration!
- 150g unsalted butter
- 100g dark chocolate with as high a percentage of cocoa as you can manage
- 3 large eggs
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 100g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon of instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bag of chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
- Take an 8-inch square baking pan and grease the sides, before lining the bottom with greaseproof paper
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave. Set aside to cool
- Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mix is fluffy and pale yellow. Dissolve the coffee in a few tablespoons of hot water and add that to the eggs and sugar along with the vanilla
- Slowly add the chocolate to the egg mixture, beating well all the while. Then add the flour and mix until just combined.
- Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife slipped into the heart of the brownie comes out clean.
- Leave to cool, then cut three times vertically and three times horizontally until you have 16 squares.
- If you prefer your brownies to be sweeter and less intense, swop the chocolate chips for white chocolate