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Babysitting has changed somewhat since I was a teenager. In my day, you were lucky if you were left a couple of stale digestives on a tray to get you through an exhausting evening of trying to finish off your A-level coursework while four insomniac children aged under seven wreaked havoc all over the house.

However, I was recently inducted into the new and vastly improved world of babysitting as an adult, for your friends. After a blissful cuddle, the little one was popped into bed and I was left with a bottle of wine and a selection of goodies from Paul A Young. Bliss. After a while, I started to wonder who was doing who the favour. Especially once I’d tasted my very first salted caramel brownie.

You heard me. It was gooey, rich and utterly delicious in every way. I had to have more. Luckily the husband is easily convinced that we need more brownies in our lives. He loves making brownies but is only sanctioned to make one batch a year, on account of the fact that neither of us can be trusted with a tin of brownies. This is our experimental attempt at salted caramel brownie. It’s not quite the same, but it’s close. And it’s good. And I suggest you don’t dwell to much on the ingredients list. As I said, once a year. Keep repeating that.

Makes: too many (at least 25 rich-as-hell squares)

For the brownies:

600g caster sugar

500g butter

340g dark choc (we used 85% cocoa solids, which stops it becoming too sickly)

200g milk chocolate

140g white chocolate

6 large eggs plus 2 yolks

120g plain flour

120g cocoa powder

A good pinch of salt

A dribble of vanilla extract

For the salted caramel: 

Recipe here – this makes a big old batch which can then be kept in the freezer. I used less than a third of this for this recipe.

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

Melt the butter and the dark chocolate, plus 60g of the milk chocolate in a bain marie. Once melted, leave to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar together until frothy and gradually stir in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle in the salt and vanilla extract, then sift in the flour and cocoa and stir. Finally chop the remaining milk and white chocolate into chunks and stir into the mix.

Pour half the mixture into a deep, square 30x 30 tin (be sure to grease/line it with greaseproof paper if not adequately non-stick). Spoon over dollops (or quenelles if you’re feeling refined) of chilled salted caramel at regular intervals, although avoid the outer perimeter.

Carefully cover with the other half of the brownie mix and smooth over the top.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, then leave to cool for a good couple of hours. Don’t worry, the mix will look suspiciously wobbly, especially in the middle when you pull it out the oven, but will firm up as it cools. Once cooled, carefully remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Warning, you only need a tiny mouthful at a time. LoveRichCashPoor accepts absolutely no responsibility for expanding waistlines.

Full credit goes to Monsieur Murray, master brownie baker extraordinaire for the brownie recipe—we bow to his greater genius, so we just added caramel to make it all the more sinful. 

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Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Magritte

I’ll be frank, there isn’t a whole lot of cooking going on in the LoveRichCashPoor household right now. We’re in the middle of re-painting, which means that everything from the sitting room is currently in the kitchen, while the bedroom is filled to the brim with all the elements of the husband’s former playroom study (think wires, decks, multiple pairs of trainers, computers, mysterious black boxes with lots of knobs on, camera equipment, records… you get the picture). Getting into bed is a veritable feat of balance and gymnastic ability.

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Folon

In fact, it’s a good job I came back from Belgium loaded with chocolates (thanks dad!). Belgium is renowned for its chocolates and there are artisan chocolatiers on every street corner but I was reared on Leonidas and Leonidas remains my chocolate of choice: specifically truffes speculoos.

At Leonidas, chocolate-making is an art. So how better to show off each tiny creation than by photographing these beauteous bites on famous Belgian works of art?

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Magritte

A visit to Leonidas is an event in my family. We each have our chocolate of choice: at the moment, my sister and I are obsessed with the truffes and coupes. We’ve been through phases of cerise emballee, manons and irresistibles., we’ve branched out into orangettes and mendiants. Heaven knows where our chocolate journey will take us next, but it will no doubt be delicious.

Each of us takes it in turn to voice our request, then we stand back and watch the lady behind the counter leap into action; her gloved hands deftly selecting the gleaming ganaches and laying them in one of Leonidas’ signature gold boxes, lovingly protecting each layer with a sheet of foil. Then the box is wrapped and beribboned and carried home to savour. Yum.

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium

Leonidas choclates, Brussels, Belgium

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