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Chestnut and Chocolate Brownie Recipe

dogwooddays
Published on December 16th 2020
10
A close up of a flower
Homemade gooey brownies are one of our family favourites during the winter, so when we come across mature sweet chestnut trees, we always take the opportunity to forage for nuts while the kids climb up into the spreading branches.
And forage for chestnuts amongst the leaves
Sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) are thought to have been brought over by the Romans who ground the nuts into flour.
In modern times, roasted chestnuts have become associated with Christmas festivities, and whole families gathered around an open fire. So it’s always special when the glossy nuts begin to appear on the woodland floor.
A close up of a green Castanea sativa plant

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

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Chestnuts ripen from mid-September to November. By December, this seasonal treat is available to buy in the shops, so there’s no need to miss out if the squirrels have beaten you to the trees near you!
The long, tapering leaves of the sweet chestnut have distinct saw-toothed edges, and the bark has deep-riven cracks and fissures running up the trunk of mature trees.
A close up of a chestnut on a tree
The nuts themselves develop in groups of three inside prickly cases that eventually fall and split open to reveal the ripe chestnuts.
We were glad to be wearing cycling gloves as a defence against the sharp spines, although would rather have gloves with full finger protection.
At the end of our cycle ride, we returned with enough chestnuts for brownies and a few handfuls left over to savour at Christmas.
The nuts need to be roasted before adding them to the brownie mix – it’s best to cut a cross into the top of each chestnut before roasting, so they don’t explode in the oven.
Bake the nuts at 200C/Gas 6 for around 30 minutes until the insides are tender and cooked.

Chestnut and Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

150g chestnuts, roasted and chopped into small pieces (here's how)
100g plain dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
100g plain white flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
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Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4
  2. Gently melt together the chocolate and butter
  3. Add the chopped roasted chestnuts to the chocolate and butter mix
  4. Take the mix off the heat and let it cool a little
  5. Mix the sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl
  6. Beat the eggs into the dry ingredients
  7. Stir in the melted chocolate, chestnuts and butter
  8. Pour into an oiled and lined baking dish
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch
chestnut and chocolate brownie
Generally speaking, anything containing chocolate is a success in our house, and these brownies are no exception.
There’s something extra special about adding ingredients that you’ve found and collected yourselves – especially if you still bear the prickles in your fingertips to prove it!

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