I always find that this time of year begins to drag. The cold seems to creep right down to my bones and I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. So this is citrus season? It feels like the closest I can get to the sun in this weather is a beautiful piece of citrus fruit. Just the smell of orange is enough to bring some life back into me. It turned out as I sat outside the little cafe at my university that it was “cookie hour”: a hot drink and a cookie for £1.60, and with dark chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. When I’m this cold and tired, I just can’t resist and I’m finding myself giving into temptation whenever it appears. These dark, dense, gooey brownies with a tang of citrus are just what I need.
3 large unwaxed oranges
180g granulated sugar
350g dark chocolate, broken in small pieces
250g unsalted butter
250g dark brown sugar, preferably muscovado
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Peel the oranges and but the peel into strips, about 1/2 cm in width. Put it in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins. Drain, and cover with 250ml fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins.
Add the granulated sugar to the pan, stirring to dissolve and simmer for 30 mins until the peel is translucent and soft. Leave to cool in the syrup, then remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in 1 layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
Heat the oven to 170°C/338°F and line a 22cm square cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth and silky, then set aside to cool a little.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until frothy.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir until combined.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and combine with a metal spoon.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and scatter on top the candied peel.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the surface is set. Leave to cool completely in the tin then cut into slices.