I probably come across as a slightly miserly parent here – and I absolutely am not one – but I detest the cheap sugar orgy this time of year. Yes, children should absolutely have treats. My son has plenty of treats. But we’d barely finished the Christmas chocolate this year when the Easter eggs started to turn up, despite me beseeching well-meaning family and friends that we really do get enough. One, in my books, is plenty enough. And so, over the years, I have declared the Saturday after Easter Sunday as some kind of Easter Chocolate Amnesty, whereby we all pool whatever is left to be squirrelled away in the sweetie tin (which comes out on Sundays after dinner), and baked into something for the household to share. I know I sound strict, but I was raised by fairly strict parents, and sometimes I open my mouth and one of them just pops out. At 31 years old, I have never needed a single filling in my teeth, and have narrowly avoided any dental work so far, and I attribute that mainly to my parents puritanical attitude towards sweets and desserts. If all I manage to give my nine year old is his smile well into his thirties (and a few basic recipes and a little happiness) then I will consider myself to have done an okay job. Whether you agree with my stance on piles of chocolate, or not, this is still a fantastic recipe for turning cheap Easter chocolate into something substantially better than a half-melted egg shoved on top of a cupboard for weeks on end.
Makes 12 small but very sweet brownies from 22p each
300g milk chocolate, 90p (Smartprice at Asda, 30p/100g)
100g butter or cooking oil, 11p (Asda sunflower oil, £3.20/3l)
200g sugar, 20p (£1.04/kg, Asda)
100g plain flour, 3p (Smartprice at Asda, 45p/1.5kg)
3 large eggs, 45p
100g decorative chocolate, such as Smarties, Mini Eggs, Creme Eggs, whatever you have to hand, £1 (Smarties, Asda, £1/118g)
First break up your chocolate and pop it into a heatproof bowl, along with the butter or cooking oil. Bring a small pan of water to the boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Place the heatproof bowl on top, making sure no water touches the bottom of the bowl, and melt the chocolate and butter (or oil) together.
While the chocolate is melting, turn the oven on to 180C and lightly grease a square tin – around 30cm x 30cm.
When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat, and stir in the sugar and flour. Crack in the eggs and beat vigorously to stir through, to form a thick, sticky, glossy batter.
Spoon the brownie mixture into the prepared tin. Press half the assorted chocolates into the mixture, and keep half to one side for the end.
Place the tin into the oven and bake for 45 minutes on the centre shelf. Remove and top with the remaining chocolates, pressing them part-way into the top of the brownie, and return to the oven for five minutes. Remove again and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving – the brownie will continue to cook and firm up in the tin, so this step is essential!
Once cool, it will keep for three days in an airtight container, or three months in the freezer.