Halloween may be gaining popularity slowly over here in England but Bonfire Night is and always has been much more of a celebration. I say celebration and of course, I mean an excuse to bake! There are some traditional treats made to celebrate Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt at blowing up Parliament with gunpowder including Yorkshire parkin which is an oaty gingerbread made a week in advance or just simple marshmallows toasted on long sticks on your bonfire. Oh, and big vats of chilli con carne or firecracker brisket to keep you warm as you watch the flames dance, hopefully with a myriad of colours of fireworks going off in the background. The fireworks mocking Guy Fawkes and his band of treasonous gunpowder plotters in rather spectacular fashion. For those of you looking for a sweet treat and a fun project to make for the 5th November, remember remember to make my Bonfire Brownie Bites!
Super cute and bite-sized as I make these proper fudgy brownie bites in my favourite Wilton mini muffin pan (favourite because the wells are a good size for a miniature muffin, rather than the ridiculously small petit fours style pans), these little edible bonfires are simple and fun to make. Definitely, one to enlist the little people in your life to make with you. I have a selection of ice cream scoops to match my baking tins (I know, slightly over the top but it’s true!) and this 1 tbsp measure ice cream scoop is the perfect size for these bites and makes getting them in the oven nice and fast.
As a tot myself, I absolutely loved Mint Matchmakers – long sticks of mint chocolate with crisp little praline pieces in that stuck my teeth together. How they ever let me into dental school all those years ago I’ll never know lol! They now come in orange and honeycomb flavour too so you can use whichever you prefer to make the logs of the bonfire, and flavour the brownie and white chocolate buttercream flames to match. I use vanilla with the honeycomb version or you could use a few drops of Buttery Caramel Foodie Flavours natural flavouring if you have some from making one of my butterbeer treats.
I used melted white chocolate to give creaminess to the buttercream as I thought asking you to make Italian meringue buttercream was taking it a tad too far in the faff stakes but if you have some to use up, then do use that instead. To keep things quick but really effective, I just use my favourite Sugarflair gel food colours to paint the insides of the piping bag et voila, you have the effect of flames lapping up inside your chocolate bonfire! As these brownie bites are made in a muffin pan, they are very small so I use the small Wilton tip number 22 to pipe out the flames with. You may have something similar if you have a kit of tips in your cupboard – a 1M or 2D make much bigger swirls but you could use them in a pinch, adding a little boiled water to thin down the buttercream a touch and make piping a tight swirl easier. See how easy they are to assemble in my quick little video before scrolling down to the full recipe for my Bonfire Brownie Bites!
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 100 g soft butter
- 180 g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 tsp of either orange/mint/vanilla extract as liked
- 70 g soft butter
- 150 g icing sugar
- 70 g white chocolate melted and cooled
- 1 tsp of either orange/mint/vanilla extract
- 1 box of Matchmaker chocolates orange/mint/honeycomb flavoured
- Yellow and red food colour gels
- A small star nozzle such as the Wilton 22 tip
- A small piping bag
- Small clean paint brushes only used for food*
Start by making the brownies. Grease a 24 hole mini muffin pan very well with oil spray or butter and lightly flour it. Now, you will curse me here but thank me later - tear off small strips of baking parchment and form crosses in each of the wells, just long enough to give you handles to help you get the brownie bites out later. I find scrunching the paper up first really helps to get them to stay in place.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
In a medium saucepan, place the dark chocolate and butter and melt over low heat. Allow to cool off the heat for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the sugar well then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in whichever flavouring you like to match the Matchmaker flavour you have selected.
Sift over the flour and stir in just until no flour is visible. Scoop 1 tbsp of batter into each well of the mini muffin pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed up, crinkly topped but still a little gooey in the middle.
Cool for 5-10 minutes on a baking rack then make space in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes before attempting to remove them using the baking parchment handles you have made. This chilling stage is important as it both keeps the brownie bites extra fudgy by stopping the cooking, but also it makes them much easier to get out of the tin as they will be firmer. You can thank me now lol!
Make the buttercream by beating the soft butter until fluffy then sift over and beat in the icing sugar - do this by hand, in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk as liked. When light and fluffy, add the extract to match your Matchmakers before stirring in the cooled, melted white chocolate. Beat once again to lighten.
Place the star tip in the small piping bag and paint stripes of yellow and red food colouring up the sides of the piping bag - you don't have to be too neat, just make sure you have a definite line without blobs of gel. Carefully scoop the buttercream into the piping bag so not to smudge the lines.
When cold, take the brownie bites out and turn them upside down - you can squash them a little bit if they don't sit flat, they are fudgy enough to take it!
To make the "flames" of the bonfire, pipe a ring of buttercream just over the edge of the brownie and continue to fill inwards to the middle. It should be flat at this point. Then holding your piping bag directly over the centre, pipe up a "flame" about 2cm tall approximately. Watch the short video in the blog post to make this clearer!
Snape or chop your Matchmakers into small, irregularly sized "logs" and press all around the outside of the brownies, pushing them into the buttercream to secure them. Leave little gaps so you can see the flames between the logs. And you are done!
* = I have bought a cheap set of small paint brushed from a craft shop that I only use for cake decorating. Never use ones which have come into contact with paint as it can be toxic to eat and be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly after each use.
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