Today, we’re so pleased to have the hilarious and talented Sue Watson join us to share her favorite holiday recipe. Sue is the author of many wonderfully fun and flirty novels, including her latest, Bella’s Christmas Bake Off. Her short story, “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam,” was featured in our delicious anthology all about cake, Petit Four. So, clearly, Sue knows her stuff when it comes to baking!
Rudolph the Reindeer Brownies
These delicious, cranberry studied brownies always take me right back to my childhood. Back home in the vanilla and cinnamon scented kitchen I would ‘help’ my mum by sampling the batter and scattering the dried cranberries, which we’d pretend were Rudolph noses. Every Christmas Eve, mum would leave one of these for Father Christmas and one for Rudolph, and on Christmas Morning they were gone – which is why I kept believing in Father Christmas…still do!
- 250g (8 ounces) dark chocolate
- 100g (7 tbsp) butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
- 3 eggs
- 250g (8 ounces) cooked beetroot, drained
- 250g (1 cup) light brown sugar
- 150g (5 ounces) ground almonds
- 2tbsp cocoa
- 1tbsp baking powder
- 50g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries
- Teaspoon of cinnamon
Note: The measurement conversions were made with this site and were rounded.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350° F) and grease a 23cm square baking tin with a little butter and line with non-stick baking paper. Leave two ‘tails’ at either side to help you lift the cooked brownie out of the tin.
Break up the chocolate into squares, place in a heatproof bowl with the butter, and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the mixture to gently melt, while stirring gently.
Tip the beetroot into a food processor and purée, (Amy’s mum used to mash with a strong potato masher, but I love my gadgets!) Then add the melted chocolate, butter and eggs and whizz again until combined. Then add the sugar, ground almonds, cocoa, baking powder and cinnamon and process until you have a smooth batter. Lift the lid off – breathe in, and the sweet, spicy fragrance of chocolate and cinnamon will take you straight to Christmas heaven.
Now pour into the baking tin, sprinkle on the cranberries (Rudolph noses) and bake for about 30 minutes until the top is set and the brownie is starting to pull a little away from the sides of the tin.
Once out of the oven, ease the brownie from the tin with the paper ‘tails’ and cut into 16 squares. There are lots of things you can do now, you can sample the cake to make sure it’s okay (a necessity I would say!) then when cool, you could dust the surface with a little icing sugar, while singing ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.’ Or – as it’s Christmas you can go completely over the top and cover in candy, sugar strands and glitter… because there’s no such thing as too much topping!
Sue Watson is a former BBC TV Producer who woke up one morning to the realisation that there was no such thing as ‘having it all.’ Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career were taking over her life and what she really wanted to do was stay home all day, bake and eat cake, watch reality TV and write… in that order. So she quit the day job, baked a year’s supply of cupcakes and chased the dream. What followed was a lot of cake and many hours in the company of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ During this, time Sue also managed to write a few books too: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger, Thinner, Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake; and her latest cake offering, Bella’s Christmas Bake Off. Learn more about Sue by visiting her website.